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flMoneet; to Snfcta anD 3Burma 





Member of the Hnkhiyt Society 







SO much has been written of recent years of the 
history of what is generally known as the East 
India Company, and so much interesting matter has 
of late been brought to light from its earliest records, 
that it seems strange that the first successful English 
expedition to discover the Indian trade should have 
been, comparatively speaking, overlooked. Before the 
first East India Company was formed the Levant Com- 
pany lived and flourished, largely through the efforts 
of two London citizens. Sir Edward Osborne, sometime 
Lord Mayor, and Master Richard Staper, merchant. 
To these men and their colleagues we owe the incep- 
tion of our great Eastern enterprise. To the fact 
that among them there were those who were daring 
enough, and intelligent enough, to carry their extra- 
ordinary programme into effect we owe our appear- 
ance as competitors in the Indian seas almost 
simultaneously with the Dutch. The beginning of 
our trade with the East Indies is generally dated from 
the first voyage of James Lancaster, who sailed from 

Plymouth in 1591. But, great as his achievement was, , 




and immediately pregnant with consequences of a 
permanent character, he was not the first Englishman 
to reach India, nor even the first to return with a 
valuable store of commercial information. To keep 
to the chronological order of events, the Rev. Thomas 
Stevens, S.J., went out in 1579 to join the Jesuit 
establishment founded at Goa under the Portuguese, 
doubled the Cape of Good Hope, and ended his days 
/ in the neighbourhood of the Indian settlement. The 
honour of "Pioneer Englishman," however, justly 
belongs to Ralph Fitch, who, as the survivor of a 
small party of men who carried with them Royal 
missives to India and China, returned with some 
practical, if not diplomatic, results of the mission. 
Sailing from the Thames on board the historic ship 
Tyger^ in 1583, and arriving in India as the prisoner 
of the united crowns of Portugal and Spain, Fitch 
eventually crossed the Peninsula, pursued his investi- 
gations to Burma and Malacca, and, after spending 
some time in Asia Minor, returned home within a 
month of Lancaster's first departure. 

The wide public interest in the world's pioneer 
voyagers and empire builders to make no further 
reference to the literature of the subject, more or less 
cognate has been sufficiently exemplified during the 
last two years. France, in 1897, celebrated the two 
hundredth anniversary of the birth of Dupleix, as 
"the Conqueror of India"; in April, 1898, Florence 
was en fete in honour of the fifth centenary of Paolo 
Toscanelli and Amerigo Vespucci ; the four hun- 
dredth anniversary of the passage of the Cape by 
Vasco da Gama was commemorated in May, both in 


London and Lisbon ; and in September, the four 
hundredth anniversary of the discovery of North 
America was marked by the opening of a tower 
erected at Bristol in memory of John and Sebastian 
Cabot. Under these circumstances it is remarkable 
that the story of Ralph Fitch, embodying as it does, 
the first English account of the great resources of 
India and the Further East, should have escaped 
adequate attention. Passing references to his adven-~1 
turous journey are made by all the modern authori- 
ties ; Professor Monier Williams, in the Contemporary 
Review of April, 1878, writing of the narrative and, 
assumedly, of the letters sent home by Fitch and his 
companions, says, "The account they published of 
their travels (preserved by Hakluyt) would well repay 
republication in a modern form, especially if illustrated 
and annotated like Colonel Yule's ' Marco Polo.' " 
The account of the voyage is here presented in full, 
with one small excision, which is duly indicated, for 
the first time since Hakluyt gave it to the world three 
centuries ago. _j 

Whether the ideal set forth above has even been 
approached in this work the reader must judge ; the 
writer puts forward no claim in regard to it, except 
that which may be founded on the love of his task. 
The plan of the book has been to introduce the 
account of the arduous journey by an historical sum- 
mary, drawn from authoritative sources, designed to 
illustrate the circumstances under which it was entered 
upon ; to borrow every additional light obtainable, 
either from the letters of Fitch and his companions, 
or the statements of those who came in contact with 


them ; to furnish a series of pen-portraits of the men 
concerned ; and, finally, to give a very brief account 
of the preliminary proceedings of the first East India 
Company, in which Ralph Fitch himself took no 
small part. Some deviation from this procedure 
occurs in reference to Burma, the most interesting 
British possession in the East and one which, without 
any doubt, will occupy a most conspicuous place in 
' the history of the future. The notes and references, 
the author ventures to suggest, have not been unduly 
amplified, the object of this book being less to offer 
aid to the student than to present a popular and yet 
reliable account of a somewhat obscure, though 
fundamental, phase in the history of England's 

Lord Curzon of Kedleston, Viceroy of India, 
has described the origin of our power in that 
empire in a single sentence. In an eloquent sympa- 
thic speech, delivered at a farewell banquet given 
to him by the Royal Societies' Club on November 
7, 1 898, he said that, " The casual stone which was 
thrown into the sea of chance by a handful of mer- 
chant adventurers two hundred years ago had produced 
an ever-extending circle of ripples, until at the present 
moment they embraced the limits and affected the 
destinies of the entire Asiatic continent." The story 
of the handful of men, and of the " casual stone," is 
told in the following pages, but it has been necessary 
to add a century and more to his lordship's re- 

The author has many grateful acknowledgments to 
make for the generous, and in some cases spontaneous, 


assistance rendered him during the progress of his 
undertaking. First, to Mr. William Foster, B.A., of 
the India Office, Hon. Secretary of the Hakluyt 
Society, for numerous most valuable suggestions, and 
for advice readily and freely given ; also to the 
President and Council of the Society for permission 
to copy several of the rare illustrations contained in 
their various publications, which was most cordially 
granted. To Sir Owen Roberts, D.C.L., who placed 
the resources of the Clothworkers' Hall at his dis- 
posal ; the Rev. J. A. L. Airey, M.A., Rector of St. 
Helen's, Bishopsgate ; the Rev. A. Keble White, M.A., 
Rector of Great Saxham, Suffolk ; Mr. W. Griggs, 
publisher of the Journal of Indian Art and Industry r , 
" The Rulers of India and Chiefs of Rajputana," and 
many other luxurious works in relation to our great 
Empire ; Mr. S. Colvin, M.A., of the Print Room, 
British Museum ; and the officials of the British 
Museum Reading Room, the Record Office, and the 
Guildhall Library, whose willingness to assist the 
literary inquirer is beyond all praise. The engravings 
in the Museum were photographed, by permission, by 
Mr. Dossetter, of Acton ; Messrs. Walker and Boutall, 
of Clifford's Inn, kindly consented to the reproduction 
of their photograph of Coello's fine painting of 
Philip II. in the National Portrait Gallery ; the 
Osborne and Staper photographs were specially taken 
by the London Stereoscopic Company ; and that of 
the Eldred bust was furnished by Mr. Spanton, of 
Bury St. Edmunds. References to the various works 
drawn upon for information will be found in the 
footnotes and, generally, in the body of the volume, 


but particular mention is due to Hakluyt's "Principal! 
Navigations," 1599-1600, which is the -foundation of 
this book, Sir W. W. Hunter's " Imperial Gazetteer 
of India," and to Sir Arthur Phayre's small but 
unique " History of Burma." 

London^ 1899. 







Excommunication ; its effects The Bull and the reply Plot 
and counterplot Commerce and industry Merchant 
princes Industrial refugees . . . . .3 



Pirates and the Royal Navy To N.E. ; Ivan the Terrible 
To N.W. ; colonisation The Spanish Main ; fight for sea 
supremacy Drake's circumnavigation Its results Aspira- 
tionTo the East Indies 21 







The Levant or Turkey Company Elizabeth to Akbar the 
Great Mogul To the "King of China "Narrative of 
Ralph Fitch (first part) . . . . .41 



Ralph Fitch to Leonard Poore Linschoten's story Master 
John Newberie's story His letter to Leonard Poore Goa 
in the sixteenth century Portuguese rule . . 64 



Akbar the reformer An opportune moment India, the 
Journey (second park) . . . . . .88 







Capture of Malacca A trade centre ; Siam, China, and 
Burma First traffic with Burma ; "A pious fraud " A 
glimpse of Burmese history Fall of Pegu j first Portuguese 
mercenaries Sack of Martaban Fall of Prome ; death of 
Tabeng Branginoco's empire Last conquest ; death of 
Branginoco . . . . . . .123 



Burma; the Journey (third part) . . . .150 



The Journey (fourth part) List of commodities Homeward 
bound ....... 175 







Ralph Fitch and the East India Company William and 
Albert Fytche John Newberie, pioneer and trader 
Thomas Stevens, S. J. , missionary-pioneer Linschoten, 
traveller and geographer John Eldred, merchant and 
traveller . . . . . . -197 



The Osborne romance Richard Staper, merchant Richard 

Hakluyt, father of modern geography . . . 220 



" Virginia " Portuguese in the East, past and present- 
Spain as an interloper The Dutch in the East Lancaster's 
first voyage to India Foundation of our Indian Empire 
Another glimpse of Burma Comparison and conclusion . 235 



(From " The Cotnplcat Ambassador," by Sir Dudley Digges, 1655. 
A similar group appears in an engraving representing the Queen 
enthroned, used as a frontispiece to Sir SymondsD' Ewes' s "Journals 
of All the Parliaments during the Reign of Queen Elizabeth" 1682.) 


" PHILIPS DE II." . . . . -9 

(From an old engraving marked "Dutch," in the Print Room, 
British Museum.) 

IVAN THE TERRIBLE . . . . .21 

(By permission from the Hakluyt Society's "Early Voyages and 
Travels in Russia and Persia," by Messrs. E. Delmar Morgan and 
C. H. Coote.) 


(From the Society's " World Encompassed," by Mr. W. S. W. Vaitx, 
M.A., who states that he is indebted for it to "Sir Trayton Drake, of 
Nuhvell Court, Devon, the lineal descendant of Sir Francis Drake.") 

PHILIP II. . . . . .41 

(Coello's painting, National Portrait Gallery.) 


(From Linschoten's " Itinerario," Amsterdam, 1595-6.) 


(From the " Itinerario.") 


(By permission, from the magnificent and authoritative " Ritlers of 
India antlChiefs of Rajputana" by Brigade Surgeon Lieut. -Colonel 
T. Holbein Hendley, CI.E., V.D., Griggs, 1897.) 




(The "Lendas" portrait, from the Hakltiyt Society's "Commentaries," 
Vol. iv., by Mr. Walter de Gray Birch.) 


(From Lieut. -Colon el Symes's "Embassy to Ava," 1800.) 


(From the Ha kitty t Society's "Commentaries," Vol. Hi.) 


(From the " Itinerario") 

JOHN ELDRED . . . . . . 21 7 

(Portrait of the memorial bust, now in Great Sa.vliam Church. 


LONDON ...... 220 

(Photograph of a painting in Clotlncorkers' Hall.) 



(From the Drawing Room, Clothworkcrs' Hall.) 


(From an engraving at Clothworkers' Hall.) 


CALAIS .... .235 

(From Pine's engravings of the Tapestries in the old House ofLoi'ds, 
1 739-) 


FILIPINAS" ... .240 

(From the Hakluyt Society's " The Philippine Islands," by Lord 
Stanley ofAlderley.) 

THE RED DRAGON . . -259 

(Also by permission from the Society's " I'i.>v<;&V of Sir Henry Middle- 
ton to Bantam and the Malnco Islands," by Mr. Bolton Corney, who 
borrowed the illustration from the Dutch collection of East Indian 
Voyages, 1645-6. It is thus described : " The Red Dragon, Captain 
Lancaster, in the Straits of Malacca, 1602." Lancaster sailed in 
this famous vessel, formerly known as the "Malice Scnrge" in his 
first voyage on behalf of the first East India Company.) 






THE story of the perilous adventures of Master 
Ralph Fitch, <( Marchant of London," in his 
endeavour to open up the Golden East to his country- 
men, is in an eminent degree typical of the period, 
and of the Elizabethan Englishman. But in order to 
grasp the full meaning of the narrative, to realise the 
dangers of the journey, and to appreciate the great 
service thus rendered to this country, it is necessary 
to give a brief sketch of affairs as they appeared at 
home immediately before its commencement. For 
this purpose the Excommunication Year has been 
taken as marking a distinct departure in the policy of 
England and the sentiments of the people. At the 
same time, too much importance should not be 
attached to the issue of the Bull as regards its rela- 
tions to English travellers abroad. There were two 
parties in this country when Fitch began his journey, 
and even in Spain and the Spanish possessions there 
was some sympathy, however small, for co-religionists 
who were supposed to desire the overthrow of the 


Heretic Queen. Probably Ralph Fitch and his 
companions, whether they were all Roman Catholics 
or not, were not unwilling to be considered members 
of that communion till they were safe beyond the 
reach of Spaniard and Portuguese. But although 
news spread slowly in those days, the effect of the 
Papal anathema was practically instantaneous in 
Europe. In England itself it served as an incentive ; 
it fired the spirit of independence which had already 
surprised surrounding nations. 

So far as it is possible to reduce the 
i"eSr iCati0n ' forei g n P lic y of Elizabeth, as a whole, 
to any definite plan, it maybe described 
in the political language of the present day as both 
opportunist and adventurous. Moreover, we cannot 
separate even in the imaginary fashion now in vogue 
the direction of her foreign affairs from her domestic 
policy. Religion was the dividing force of the two 
great parties at home, and at the same time dominated 
every transaction with foreign Powers. To begin 
with, the Queen's title to the crown she was now 
wearing had been called into question by the titular 
head of Christendom (Paul IV.), one of whose pre- 
decessors (Alexander VI,) had -shared the wonderful 
new worlds, East and West, between the Kings of 
Portugal and Spain. It only required the Bull of 
Excommunication of Pius V. to define the position 
of England, to herself as well as to the rest of Europe, 
as a distinct politico-religious Power the stronghold 
of Protestantism, the home and starting-place of a 
new and more daring order of adventurers, who cared 
no more for Papal edicts and bans abroad than they 


feared the strange seas they were so well fitted to 
navigate. The language of the Bull was sufficiently 
contemptuous and provocative. Von Ranke says : 
" In the name of Him who had raised him to the 
supreme throne of Right, he (the Pope) declared 
Elizabeth to have forfeited the realm of which she 
claimed to be Queen ; he not merely released her 
subjects from the oath they had taken to her, 'we 
likewise forbid/ he adds, * her barons and peoples 
henceforth to obey this woman's commands and laws, 
under pain of excommunication.' " The personality 
of the author of the ban is thus described : " Pope 
Pius V., Michele Ghislieri, had been a Dominican 
inquisitor before his election to the Papacy. Austere, 
zealous, and determined, he devoted all his energies 
to the suppression of heresy. Under his rule 
the Inquisition crushed out Protestantism in Italy. 
Though a man of fervent piety and blameless 
life, he shrank from no measures which were likely 
to put down the schism. He rejoiced over Alva's 
cruelties in the Netherlands, and sent him a sword 
and cap which he had blessed, as a token of his 
favour." * With regard to the gift to the Duke of 
Alva, whose tortures and mutilations amongst the 
Protestants of the Low Countries drenched that un- 
happy land in blood for seven long years, Motley says 
his Holiness sent an autograph letter in which the 
recipient was requested " to remember, when he put 
the hat upon his head, that he was guarded with it as 
with a helmet of righteousness, and with the shield 

1 Dr. Creighton (Bishop of London) in "Age of Elizabeth," 
p. 105. 


of God's help, indicating the heavenly crown which 
was ready for all princes who support the Holy 
Church and the Roman Catholic faith." 1 

The Bull was issued on February 25, 
I57 ' " Several copies were sent to the 
Duke of Alva, with a request that he 
would make them known in the seaports of the 
Netherlands ; and by the Duke some of these were 
forwarded to the Spanish ambassador in England. 
Early in the morning of the fifteenth of May, one was 
seen affixed to the gates of the bishop of London's 
residence in the capital. The Council was surprised 
and irritated ; a rigorous search was made through 
the Inns of law ; and another copy of the Bull was 
found in the chamber of a student in Lincoln's Inn, 
who acknowledged, on the rack, that he had received 
it from a person of the name of Felton. Felton 
resided near Southwark, a gentleman of large pro- 
perty and considerable acquirements : but his temper 
was ungovernable, and his attachment to the creed of 
his fathers approached to enthusiasm. On his appre- 
hension he boldly confessed that he had set up the 
Bull." Lingard adds that Felton " refused, even 
under torture, to disclose the names of his accom- 
plices, and abettors," but points out that the Govern- 
ment account of the execution, as preserved in 
Howell's " State Trials," represents him as repenting. 
Felton, it appears, " obtained the copies of the Bull 
from the chaplain of the Spanish ambassador, who 
immediately left the kingdom." 

The Papal denunciation was warmly resented both 
1 " Rise of the Dutch Republic,'' vol. ii. p. 243. 


by sovereign and people, and in the complicated 
condition of affairs abroad there seems to have been 
some doubt at first whether to regard the document 
as merely an act of spiritual aggression or a declara- 
tion of war by one or both of those eminently Catholic 
countries, Spain and France. Cecil (Lord Burleigh) 
the statesman to whom, with Sir Nicholas Bacon 
(father of the great Francis) and Sir Francis Walsing- 
ham (the Puritan), England owed at that time so 
much, and still owes fulminated a reply which by 
the vigour of its terms must have considerably 
astonished the Papal party. The manifesto is pre- 
served in the original at the Record Office (Dom., 
vol. Ixxiii., No. 49), and consists of thirteen pages of 
MS. with interlinings and marginal interpolations, all 
in Cecil's own hand. He begins : " An Advertise- 
me n t of mete for all uses/'' and addresses himself to 
all subjects " to know their errors and by repentance 
to receive mercy," and lastly, " for all strangers great 
or small to be well informed of truth." There is a 
general statement to the effect that in all ages and in 
all countries it has been a common usage for offenders 
to make defence of their real designs by untruths and 
by colouring their deeds (" war they never so vile "), 
" w h pretences of soe other courses of contrary opera- 
tion," in order not merely to avoid punishment or 
blame but that they might prosecute their " malechoos 
purposes." He deals with the plottings against the 
Queen, "styrred upp by y e Devill y e father of rebells," 
and says that some have been punished and others 
pardoned, while special mention is made, amongst 
others, of Thomas Stukley, " a faythless best rather 


than a man." Cecil suggests that the " Bishop of 
Rome " was urged by these men to publish the Bull, 
and thus sow the seeds of sedition ; he challenges the 
Pope's authority on historical and other grounds, and 
concludes "by God's grace no collor nor occasion 
shall be given to shed the blood of any of the Queen's 
subjects." * The fleet in the Channel was immediately 
reinforced, and Lord Clinton, who was in command, 
was instructed to attack without question any French 
transports he might meet taking troops to Scotland. 
The following year Parliament passed Bills to secure 
Conformity from Catholic and Puritan alike (the 
arbitrary Court of High Commission was made per- 
manent in 1583), declaring it high treason to call the 
Queen a heretic, or to publish a Papal Bull. The 
natural result of the new crisis was to elevate Eliza- 
beth to the position of the Protestant champion, 
an honour, be it observed, which was forced upon 
her, but which was soon to be emphasised by the 
whole course of events on the Continent, including 
the massacre of Bartholomew's Day (1572) and the 
Spanish Fury at Antwerp (1576). Still she did not 
venture to take up the cause of the Netherlanders or 
the Huguenots. Her hands were too full of the 
plottings at home the Pope's message had been 
accompanied by letters of encouragement to the 
Earls of Westmorland and Northumberland and the 
troubles in Scotland. So long as Spain was engaged 

1 Sir T. Stukley, the u Marques of Ireland," was killed in 1578 
whilst serving under Sebastian, King of Portugal, in an expe- 
dition to Barbary. The adventurer was in command of an 
Italian contingent sent by the Pope (Hakluyt, vol. ii. part ii.). 



in pouring the treasures of the Indies into the dykes 
and dunes of the Low Countries, so long as France 
was the scene of the varying fortunes of Huguenot 
and Leaguer, she felt comparatively safe, at any rate 
from temporal interference. 

The Queen throughout the period 
under review was personally in a 
perilous position, and the story of the 
Ridolfi conspiracy, in which the most powerful 
monarch in Europe lent himself to a scheme for 
the assassination of a sovereign with whom he was 
in diplomatic relations, is sufficiently characteristic 
of the general position of affairs. 1 But she extended 
her sympathy to her co-religionists abroad ; although 
she gave them no systematic material assistance, 
resisting even the touching appeals of William the 
Silent, there was an asylum offered to the refugees in 
this country. Elizabeth lived in an atmosphere of plot 
and counterplot, and did not hesitate to stake in the 
game the prospect of marriage and a share of her 
throne. She trifled with one foreign prince or party 
or the other in order to secure her own inviolability, 
for, turn where she would, she found no country 
willing enough to defy the Pope, or which was not 
more or less under the influence of her great enemy 
and rival, Spain. Whilst her enemies were busy 
conspiring, she dallied with the Duke of Anjou and 
the repulsive Alengon (" the Frog ") ; whilst the 
adventurous charlatan Sir Thomas Stukley (referred 
to in Cecil's manifesto), was scheming at Madrid 

1 Motley gives extracts from Philip's correspondence with 
Alva on the subject. Vol. ii. p. 286. 


for the conquest of Ireland, the redoubtable Hawkins, 
in 1571, actually succeeded in so befooling Philip 
with offers to betray his country and his queen that 
the king handed over two months' pay for 1,600 
men, who were to man a fleet to co-operate with 
Alva in an effort to place Mary of Scots on the 
throne of England. Froude suggests that the 
principal object that Hawkins had in view was to 
save the remnants of his force captured by the 
Spaniards after the treachery of San Juan de Ulloa. 
Such of the wretches who did not perish in Mexico, 
or fall victims to the Inquisition, now lay in Spanish 
dungeons, and Sir John, in negotiating for their 
release, found a daring and astute agent in one 
Fitzwilliam. This man carried messages between 
Philip and Mary of Scots, all of which were carefully 
inspected by Cecil en route ; he obtained the order 
for the payment of the sum mentioned above, and 
a " free pardon " for Hawkins, who was made a 
grandee of Spain for his "treachery." Another of 
the striking incidents of this exciting time, which 
may be referred to in passing, was the capture of 
Dr. Story, an arch-conspirator, who had sought 
refuge at Antwerp. A spy was sent over and 
induced the doctor to come aboard an English ship 
lying in the Scheldt. He was at once thrown into 
the hold, and his captor was similarly treated on the 
pretence that he was his fellow-prisoner, and in the 
hope that he might retain the doctor's confidence 
and obtain information from him. The Public 
Records contain a piteous complaint by Dr. Story, who 
was executed, that the irons he wore galled his legs. 


The popularity, generally speaking, of Tudor 
government has been much discussed. In the 
present case there can be no question that loyalty 
to the queen, and to her cause as they understood 
it, deepened amongst the people as the reign 
lengthened. With regard to the condition of religion 
in the country, it is always difficult to gauge a 
national faith, and in this reign it is impossible to 
dissociate, on the one hand, the Papacy from the 
foreign element ; or, on the other, Patriotism from 
Protestantism. In an effort to arrive at some 
estimate of the forces of the two great religious 
sects, Macaulay quotes several historians, including 
Lingard and Hallam. The result he reaches is 
that the bulk of the people, while holding firmly 
to the doctrines which were common to both 
sections, had no fixed opinion upon the matters 
in dispute. This conclusion he strengthens by 
reference to the drama of the reign ; he adds, how- 
ever, that the people " disliked the policy of the 
Court of Rome. Their spirit rose against the inter- 
ference of a foreign priest with their national 
concerns." I Froude says, " Walsingham believed 
that at this time (1579) the establishment of the 
succession in a Protestant would extinguish the 
extreme Catholic party altogether ; ' the most part 
of the Papists of this realm being rather of State 
than of conscience, in respect of the hope they 
have of the succession.' " Dr. Creighton remarks : 
" Opposition to the papacy was shown to be a 
necessary safeguard of the national independence. 
1 Essay on " Burleigh and His Times." 


The stirring events of Elizabeth's reign bound her 
people together, and demanded that they should offer 
a united front to their foes." One of our most 
popular authors, who may claim the metropolis as 
his own peculiar ground, suggests that the only way 
to get at the people of the time is through those who 
wrote about them ; behind the poets and dramatists, 
who were the chief glory of this age, " were the 
turbulent youth, prodigal of life, eager for joy, 
delighting in feast and song, always ready for a 
fight, extravagant in speech and thought, jubilant in 
their freedom from the tyranny of the Church." He 
further states : " If the London of the Third Edward 
was a city of palaces, that of Queen Elizabeth was a 
city of ruins," and adds, in effect, that the appro- 
priation or destruction of many Catholic estab- 
lishments was witnessed with indifference. 1 

" When Queen Elizabeth ascended 
tne throne, the commercial centre of 
the world was Antwerp ; when she 
died the commercial centre of the world was 
London." 2 Thus writes one authority. Another 
says : " The reign of Elizabeth is the epoch from 
which dates the naval and commercial greatness of 
England, and the queen's care and attention con- 
tributed in no slight degree to this result." 3 We 
have here, as it were, the conception and realisation 
of a brilliant vision placed in juxtaposition. But 
what comes between ? It is impossible to peruse the 
most dramatic page of England's history without 

1 Sir Walter Besant in " London." 

2 Sir W. Besant. 3 Dr. Creighton. 


being almost overpowered by a sense of Opportunity. 
The programme of Elizabeth and her courageous 
Ministers from the beginning was one of freedom, 
first from the power of the Pope. But to all intents 
and purposes this meant isolation. The English be- 
came the Ishmaelites of Europe, with enemies whose 
resources were only outnumbered by their vulnerable 
points. The defensive struggle for religious freedom 
soon developed into a contest for Commercial Equality 
and subsequently as the courage which prompted the 
first defiance of Catholic Europe became more and 
more daring into an aggressive spirit of Expansion. 1 
The conditions under which the world's trade was 
carried on were peculiarly favourable to the enterprise, 
and with a prescience which, looked at from a distance, 
appears altogether remarkable, the queen prepared 
for coming events in a substantial, honest manner. 
One of the first acts of her reign was the restoration 
of the coinage, which had been debased to one-third 
of its face value. The worst debasements were made 
by Henry VIII. and Edward VI., so that in 1551 no 
less than seventy-two shillings were coined out of a 
pound. A thorough change was made by Elizabeth, 

1 Prof. Seeley in his collected lectures on the " Expansion of 
England " deals in a searching manner with the revolutionary 
influences of the Reformation and the discovery of the New 
World influences which made themselves felt within thirty 
years of each other. The former, he holds, was the more rapid 
in its operation on the Old World, but the effects died sooner 
than those of the latter ; it was not till near the end of the six- 
teenth century, after the repeated raids upon the Spanish 
settlements in Central America, that Spain decided upon her 
great enterprise against England. 


who coined only sixty shillings at first out of a pound 
of silver ; but afterwards in 1601 she coined sixty-two 
shillings, and so it remained till 1816, when sixty-six 
shillings were coined. 1 But apart from the semi- 
political and romantic schemes which are referred to 
below, the whole of her commercial policy was 
directed to the encouragement of the native merchant 
at the expense, it might be, of his foreign rivals. 
Those were the days of Merchant Guilds, and it is an 
open question whether the England of the present 
day does not owe quite as much to the energy and 
enterprise of the traders of that age as to its politicians 
and explorers ; " trade follows the flag " is now a trite 
saying, but it did not apply under Elizabeth. 

At the head of all the European 

Merchant princes. ... . TT . T 

guilds was the great Hanseatic League. 
The League, whose history is a veritable romance of 
commerce, negotiated with monarchs and threatened 
princes. 2 The chief depot in England was in 
London, and the mercantile colony, enclosed in walls 
and gates, came to be known as the Steelyard, pro- 
bably from the fact that on this spot stood the great 
balance of the city, on which all imported and 
exported merchandise had to be officially weighed. 
The great power and widespread influence of the 
Hansards, as they were called, who appear to have 
first sprung into prominence in the northern seas 

1 Gibbins's "History of Commerce in Europe" (Macmillan, 

2 For a history of the great Hanseatic League, probably 
unique in its completeness, see Helen Zimmern's "The Hansa 
Towns" (Story of the Nations Series. Fisher Unwin). 


about the end of the twelfth century, may be traced 
on a map which shows that in the middle of the 
sixteenth century their depots and possessions 
extended from London to Novgorod, and from 
Bergen to Krakow. Their privileges were syste- 
matically attacked in this country in the reign of 
Edward VI., but they recovered their entire liberties 
under Mary. All this was changed under Elizabeth, 
by the labours of Cecil and Sir Thomas Gresham, 
financier and merchant. In 1597 the Emperor 
Rudolph, much to the delight of the Hansards in 
their headquarters at Lubeck, ordered all English 
traders to leave the empire within three months. In 
reply Elizabeth gave the League notice to quit the 
Steelyard within fourteen days, a mandate which the 
Mayor and Sheriffs saw duly carried out ; but 
eventually the property was restored to the Germans 
minus the trade privileges. It is interesting to add 
that as late as 1853 the Steelyard was sold to an 
English company for building purposes, for the sum 
of 72,500, by the cities of Lubeck, Bremen, and 
Hamburg, and the present Cannon Street railway 
station stands on part of the site. 

On the suppression of these foreign monopolists 
home-made combinations sprung into life and 
flourished amazingly, and particular mention may 
be made of the development of the guilds of the 
Merchants of the Staple and the Merchant Ad- 
venturers. Both seem to have arisen towards the 
end of the thirteenth century the Staplers first and 
were known under the same title of the Brotherhood 
of St. Thomas & Becket. Most of their business was 


in manufactured cloth, and they were probably off- 
shoots of the Company of Mercers, whose patron 
saint was the same. They established " staples " or 
depots abroad, and it is stated that in 1550 the 
Adventurers employed no less than 20,000 persons at 
Antwerp alone, and 30,000 elsewhere in the Nether- 
lands. In 1568 Alva seized their merchandise at 
Antwerp, and Elizabeth promptly retaliated on the 
Spanish shipping. It is not difficult to understand 
that both bodies were in constant conflict, at home 
and abroad, with the Hanseatic League. The 
Adventurers were invited to Bruges during the 
Spanish troubles, but they replied that " until 
religious freedom is granted and taxation reduced it 
is impossible ; " they finally settled at Hamburg till 
their work in the world was done. The Corporation 
of Staplers continued till the eighteenth century and 
held meetings, though their trade and importance had 
long since passed away. 1 " At the beginning of the 
reign," writes Sir Walter Besant, " there were no more 
than 317 merchants in all, of whom the Company of 
Mercers formed 96. Before her reign it was next to 
impossible for the city to raise a loan of ; 10,000. 
Before she died the city was advancing to the Queen 
loans of ;6o,ooo." "In 1572," says Froude, "the 
burden of all vessels in the kingdom which were 

1 An historical account of these earlier English trade guilds 
is given in " Two Thousand Years of Gild Life," by the Rev. J. 
Malet Lambert, M.A. (Simpkin, Marshall, 1891). See also 
" The Early Chartered Companies," by Messrs. George Cawston 
and A. H. Keene, F.R.G.S. (Edward Arnold, 1896), in which 
the origin of Staple Inn, Holborn, is traced to the merchant 
company of that name. 


engaged in ordinary commerce scarcely exceeded 
50,000 tons " (actual 50,926 tons), while the largest 
sailing vessel from the port of London was of only 
240 tons burden. 

An epoch in the history of English commerce was 
the opening of the first London Royal Exchange by 
the Queen in 1571, a "bourse" after the fashion of 
that at Antwerp, which was presented to the City by 
Sir Thomas Gresham. So much has been said and 
written of this typical London merchant typical, 
that is, of his time that little need be added here. 
His official relations as financial agent or broker of 
the English Government at home and abroad con- 
tinued off and on from 1553 to 1574, and were 
concluded in a manner which bears testimony to his 
ingenuity, to say nothing more. The Commissioners 
of the Treasury, it appears, made some startling 
discoveries in the details of his final account and 
docked a variety of counter claims. But Gresham 
was equal to the emergency. He paid a visit to the 
official auditor, who was on the point of going for his 
summer holiday, and solicited a copy of the official 
account on the plea that all his own papers had been 
lodged with the authentic account. This was supplied, 
and the official left for his vacation. " Immediately 
Gresham caused the usual concessary footnote to be 
added to this imperfect document, setting forth the 
statement and allowance of his claim for interest and 
exchange on the surplus, already rejected, and posted 
off to Kenilworth, where the Queen was now being 
royally entertained by Leicester.'' 3 By some means 
he gained the royal sanction for this copy, and armed 


i8 &ALPH FITCti 

with such authority he obtained the signatures of the 
Commissioners, who were apparently in attendance at 
Court. When the astonished auditor was presented 
with his own duplicate, signed and with footnote 
complete, he was compelled to treat it as the 
authoritative record, though it involved the disposition 
of six millions (present value). 1 But on the whole it 
is difficult to estimate the services of this man to his 
day and generation. He fought the battle of the 
native merchants against the Hansards, and kept the 
State Loans in the country ; by his means a mart, 
destined to become the greatest in the world, was 
established here. 

Meanwhile a series of circumstances 

Industrial refugees. . 

had been in operation which, whilst 
illustrating the permeating influences of the rival 
religions of the time, reveals another of the beginnings 
of England's industrial as well as commercial great- 
ness. Up to the accession of Elizabeth our most 
important export had been home-grown wool, which 
went to the manufacturers of Flanders. But during 
the growing uneasiness consequent upon the policy 
of Philip in the Low Countries emigration had set in, 
chiefly, of course, to England. In 1566 matters 
reached a climax, and the famous Compromise was 
presented to the Regent, the Duchess Margaret, as 

1 From " Society in the Elizabethan Age, 1 ' by Mr. Hubert 
Hall of the Record Office. " It is not too much to say," con- 
tinues Mr. Hall, "that Gresham was ^10,000 (^60,000) to the 
good by the successful issue of his mission. He had received 
this sum, and had not accounted for it. ... In sober truth, 
however, Gresham was neither better nor worse than the age 
made him." 


a protest against the Spanish Inquisition. By this 
time it is computed that no less than 50,000 wretched 
Netherlanders had been put to death under Philip's 
edicts, while 30,000 had left the country and settled 
at Norwich, Sandwich, and other places. Elizabeth, 
with her usual shrewdness to suggest no higher 
motive gave all these expert artisans a cordial 
welcome, but made it a condition that each industrial 
house should employ at least one English apprentice. 
The refugees and the English lads between them 
soon established such a cloth and silk making and 
dyeing business as to completely turn the tide of 
trade. Instead of the raw material going to the 
Scheldt to come back in the shape of manufactured 
goods, they sent the finished article. 

How much the spirit of Protestantism in England 
owed eventually to these circumstances it would be 
impossible to estimate. Froude suggests, by way of 
accounting for the strange admixture of religion and 
marauding, persecution and piracy, witnessed in the 
English Channel and elsewhere during a nominal 
time of peace between England and Spain, that the 
ideas of the Reformation had taken the deepest root 
amongst the sea-going portion of Elizabeth's subjects. 
But there can be no question that a generous 
sympathy with the industrious Netherland refugees, 
coupled with the hatred of the power which was felt 
to be the common enemy, spread rapidly among the 
increasing artisan class in this country, and, ascend- 
ing higher in the social scale, reached the merchant 
and the courtier, not to say the Queen herself. 
"The merchant," says the historian just quoted, 


"therefore could change his character for that 
of buccaneer with the approval of his conscience 
as well as to the advantage of his purse. When 
driven from legitimate trade the English merchants, 
instead of flying at the Government as the Spanish 
ambassador had hoped, flew upon the spoils of those 
who forced them to abandon it." Thus Philip's 
policy, carried out as it was in the Low Countries 
with all the ferocity of Alva, and perfectly under- 
stood, especially so far as the plottings were concerned, 
by Cecil and Walsingham, was made in the long run 
to recoil upon itself. 





N endeavouring to realise something of the com- 
mencement of England's dominion over the sea 
before the fatal blow had been struck at 

Pirates and the . ... . < 

Royal Navy. tne greatest existing ocean power, in the 
defeat of the Spanish Armada (1588), 
we encounter a set of circumstances which it is diffi- 
cult to understand in these days. The reaction from 
the Papal Bull accounts for much of the predatory 
spirit of the English at this time ; although we were 
not at war with any country in Europe, the Channel 
swarmed with freebooters, who found a ready refuge 
on our coasts. The " Water Beggars" of the Nether- 
lands, under Brederode, and the wild and savage 
William de la Marck harried the Spaniards with 
conspicuous impunity. In the spring of 1571 their 
fleet came into Dover Roads and, being joined by 
several English rovers, they held the Straits, raided 
the Spanish coasts, and plundered the king's ships. 
Markets were held at Dover, where the proceeds of 


the operations were openly disposed of and captives 
were sold for the ransom they would bring, being 
actually consigned to the court-house in irons. 1 
When Alva sent a squadron to rid the Channel of 
these hornets Brederode drew in under the cliffs, and 
the English batteries beat off the Spaniards. In reply 
to a protest, the Spanish ambassador was informed 
that " English waters were a sanctuary." In 1572, 
however, on a remonstrance from Alva, Elizabeth, 
" wishing," as Dr. Creighton puts it, " to be concilia- 
tory in a little matter," gave orders that the " Water 
Beggars" should not be supplied with provisions. 
De la Marck thereupon set sail with his four-and- 
twenty ships, and his total force of not more than 
250 men, and, being driven by stress of weather into 
the mouth of the Meuse, succeeded by a bold stroke 
in capturing the town of Brill for Prince William of 

This was the period of renaissance for the Royal 
Navy, in which the Queen from the first exhibited 
the liveliest interest, though her subsequent niggardli- 
ness imperilled the safety of her realm. At the death 
of Henry VIII. the navy consisted of 53 vessels, with 
an aggregate burden of 6,255 tons, and a total com- 
plement officers, soldiers, sailors, and gunners of 
about 8,000 men. The largest vessel was the Great 
Harry of 1,000 tons. At the death of Edward VI. 
the number of ships had come down to 45, of which 
only 24 were effective. Matters became worse under 
Mary, and almost at the commencement of her reign 
the Great Harry was burnt at Woolwich " by the 
1 Froude. 


negligence of the mariners." z Miserably depleted 
as it had been during the two previous reigns, Eliza- 
beth followed a systematic plan of restoring the arm 
to a nucleus of effective strength, and at the period 
under notice she had a small but well-formed force to 
cruise around the coasts. The fleet was not large 
enough, however, to maintain peace in the Channel, 
so far as English subjects were concerned, even if this 
had been the consistent intention of the Government ; 
indeed on more than one occasion royal ships were 
actually allowed to be used for very different purposes. 
By 1578 she had succeeded in forming a fleet of 24 
vessels, with a total complement of 7,000 men, the 
largest being the Triumph, 1,000 tons, while there 
were two of 900 tons, two of 800 tons, five of 600 tons 
and so on down to 60 tons. The redoubtable Sir 
John Hawkins who, although there is some suspicion 
of his financial practices, was at least a practical sea- 
man succeeded his father-in-law, Gonson, as Comp- 
troller, and Sir William Winter was the Master of 
Naval Ordnance. Meanwhile enterprise and adven- 
ture had been carried on far beyond these shores, till 
at last the fortitude, endurance, and courage displayed 
in various parts of the globe opened out permanent 
avenues to commerce, and laid the foundations of the 
British Empire. 

It need not be a matter of surprise that the begin- 
nings of expansion were left to individual adventurers 
and small combinations of merchants surely such a 

1 See Mr. Fox Bourne's "English Seamen under the Tudors" 
for these figures and a graphic account of the maritime history 
of the period (Bentley, 1 868). 


commencement should be rather a matter of con- 
gratulation than otherwise. Troubled with the most 
complicated affairs of State, the Queen could do little 
more than watch with a kindly eye, and sanction 
by charter and missive, the efforts of her subjects in 
distant regions. At first she was cautious in what 
she did sanction, and the records afford ample 
evidence that the more daring of her navigators 
found it necessary to make public explanations, more 
or less lame as they appear to us, of what they had 
done and why they had done it. But Elizabeth never 
forgot that she was a proscribed person, that her 
kingdom was in a state of incipient antagonism to 
the leading European Powers, and, secretly to begin 
with, then openly and defiantly, she furthered the 
projects of her vigorous, almost unruly adventurers, 
thus reaping a rich reward for herself and leaving a 
greater one for posterity. Up to the time of the 
departure of Master Ralph Fitch for India and the 
Far East (1583) various of his countrymen had within 
comparatively recent years penetrated to other distant 
lands, but a summary of their doings will suffice. 1 

1 Mention should be made here of an attempt to reach the 
Far East which, although futile in its results, deserves a place 
as the first organised expedition in this direction. Hakluyt 
(vol. iii. p. 754) thus describes it : " The voyage of M. Edward 
Fenton and M. Luke Ward, his vice-admirall, with 4 ships, 
intended for China, but performed onely to the coast of Brazil 
as farre as 33. degrees of southerly latitude : begunne in the 
yeare 1582.'' The account is written by Ward, who was in 
command of the Edward Bonaventura^ 300 tons, a sturdy 
ship which afterwards figured in the attack on the Spanish 
Armada, and carried Lancaster to India on his first voyage in 


To deal first with what may be de- 
fee Te^ibiJ* 11 Bribed as the purely English efforts to 
discover a north-east or north-west 
passage to Far Cathay, and without going so far 
back as the voyages of the Cabots, we come primarily 
to the setting forth of an expedition which resulted 
in the opening up of a seaborne trade with Russia, a 
result at least as important to that country as our 
own. The voyage is attributed to the suggestion of 
Sebastian Cabot, now an old man, who had returned 
to England from service with Spain, and it was " for 
the search and discovery of the northern part of the 
world." Sir Hugh Willoughby and Richard Chancelor, 
in command of three vessels, set out in 1553, the route, 
roughly planned, being to sail northerly as far as 
possible, then easterly and southward. Beyond the 
North Cape they became separated in a fog, and two 
years afterwards the remains of Willoughby and the 
crews of two of his ships were found in a small 
Lapland bay. Chancelor, being unable to discover 
his companions, continued the journey and found his 
way into the White Sea. Here he met with a hospit- 
able reception, was invited to Moscow and, quite in 
modern fashion, secured a commercial treaty from 
Ivan the Terrible. This commencement of inter- 
course between two nations destined in the future 
rightly or wrongly to become rivals in the heritage 
of the East and Far East, is one of the most fascina- 
ting incidents of a moving epoch. Ivan IV., who was 
the first to assume the title of Tsar, was now twenty- 
three years of age, and had already demonstrated, in 
his own fashion, his power to rule. He granted per- 


mission to Richard Chancelor " and the guests arrived 
from the English land with wares brought in their 
ships from beyond the seas, to come and go in safety 
in his Russian dominions and to buy and build 
houses without let or hindrance." Abandoning all 
idea of continuing the search for the North-East 
passage, Chancelor returned home, and soon after- 
wards the relations of the two countries became 
sufficiently advanced to enter upon the diplomatic 
stage. The first Russian ambassador was sent to 
this country (to Mary and Philip) on the occasion 
of Chancelor's second voyage in 1556. The return 
journey, however, proved most disastrous ; the 
English navigator and all the three ships were lost, 
but the ambassador was saved, and eventually 
entered London in state. An adventurous English- 
man, one Anthony Jenkinson, visited the country 
in 1557 and was employed on various expeditions; 
he was sent back to Moscow as Elizabeth's am- 
bassador in I566. 1 The next voyage was under- 
taken in 1580, for the Muscovy Company, by Jack- 
man and Pet. They reached the Kara Sea, the 
former by Burrough's Straits and the latter by the 
channel now known as Pet's Straits. 

1 See Prof. Men-fill's " Russia " (Story of the Nations Series). 
Thejourneyings of Anthony Jenkinson will be found in Hakluyt's 
Collection, and also in " Early Voyages and Travels in Russia 
and Persia," edited for the Hakluyt Society by Messrs. E. 
Delmar Morgan and C. H. Coote. The earliest account of 
Muscovy, by Baron Sigismund von Hebrerstein, German 
ambassador 1517-26, has been translated and edited for the 
society by Mr. R. H. Major. 


About the year 1574 systematic steps 
colonisation were taken to revive the quest for the 
North- West passage. As the result of 
the written and other efforts of Sir Humphrey Gilbert 
and Martin Frobisher, the Queen wrote to the Mus- 
covy Company, which had been formed, suggesting 
that if they did not intend to pursue the exploration 
of a northerly route to Cathay they should transfer 
their privileges to other adventurers. As the Com- 
pany were satisfied with their profitable Russian 
traffic they granted a licence in 1575 to Frobisher, 
whose three voyages to the North- West (1575-9), 
after the formation of the Company of Cathay, and 
whose reward of a knighthood are well-known 
matters of history. 1 Sir Humphrey Gilbert in 1578 
obtained a charter for the discovery and possession 
of any barbarous lands not yet claimed by a Christian 
prince, and he was joined, though not accompanied, 
in this somewhat wide venture by his stepbrother, 
Walter Raleigh, so soon to become famous. Gilbert, 
unfortunate as he was, may be fittingly described as 
the father of British colonisation. His first expedi- 
tion, which was to found a colony somewhere in 
North America, left England in 1578, but was beaten 
back by the Spaniards, and returned in 1579. In 
1583 he started again, steering for Newfoundland, 
where the English had for some time enjoyed a share 
of the fisheries, his idea being to sail southward after- 
wards to find a suitable spot to found a permanent 

1 The Hakluyt Society have published the three voyages in 
volume form, with selections from State papers, edited by Rear- 
Admiral Collinson, C.B. 


home. He, however, fixed upon St. John's, but after 
a brief spell ashore, which was long enough to exhibit 
the inherent weakness of the whole scheme, the 
expedition set off on the return journey, Gilbert's 
vessel he chose the smallest of his little fleet- 
foundering at sea. 

The Spanish Main. The next portion of the moving story 
Fight for sea of storm and stress carries us through 
strange seas to unknown coast-lines : it 
tells of plundered treasure-ships ; of results which 
established the reputation of Englishmen as the 
bravest to say no more as well as the most skilful 
of navigators. It has been urged, specially in refer- 
ence to Drake's greatest exploit, that, in the encour- 
agement she gave to the questionable doings of her 
seamen in these expeditions, Elizabeth made a most 
valuable contribution to the war in the Low Countries, 
and that it was more effective " in bringing Spain 
upon her knees than if she had emptied her treasury 
into the lap of Orange." But, whatever were the 
Queen's motives, there can be no doubt of the en- 
couragement, intermittent though it seems to have 
been, nor of the peculiar opportunities which had 
been growing up for its exercise. As far back as 
1530-2 William Hawkins of Plymouth, father of 
the more famous John, had sailed to the Guinea 
Coast, and appears to have been our pioneer in a 
trade in which Martin Frobisher and Francis Drake 
subsequently served their deep-sea apprenticeship. 
Hawkins's plan was to make a round voyage from 
England to Guinea, thence to Brazil where, after 
Sebastian Cabot, now in the Spanish service, he was 


the first English representative and then home. 
The Guinea route was soon pursued by others, and 
we find Captain Windham, under the guidance of 
Pinteado, a Portuguese, sailing in 1553 and trading 
with Benin. In 1 562 John Hawkins whose name is 
so unhappily associated with the slave traffic, the 
enormities of which, it is only fair to suggest, were 
not at all understood at the time set himself to 
work to trade between Africa and the Spanish 
colonies. In 1563 he returned from San Domingo 
with his three English ships, sending two Spanish 
vessels which he had chartered to Cadiz. Here, how- 
ever, Philip II., who looked upon the whole affair 
with jealous eyes, seized the vessels and prohibited 
the enterprise. For the next trading expedition to 
the Spanish Main, 1564, Elizabeth allowed Hawkins 
to hire one of her largest vessels ; several of her nobles 
shared in the venture, which proved highly successful, 
and on his return the navigator was honoured with a 
crest and coat of arms. In 1 567, in company with 
Drake, Hawkins set sail on the memorable voyage to 
the West Indies and the Mexican coast, which ended 
in the treachery of San Juan de Ulloa and a declara- 
tion of open enmity to Spain from the two English 
seamen who were destined to do probably more than 
any others to damage irretrievably her naval supre- 

Soon afterwards political matters in England 
reached an acute stage. Froude says : " In the spring 
of 1571, when the Spanish ambassador had been 
discovered to be a party to the Norfolk conspiracy 
(the Ridolfi plot), a hint was given to the Western 


privateers, and a young adventurer sailed out of 
Plymouth harbour more enterprising and more 
audacious than the dreaded Hawkins himself." This 
was Drake's expedition to Nombre de Dios, and 
although its intention and character were well known, 
the Queen appears to have made no secret of her 
personal interest in the enterprise. The " young 
adventurer" returned with an enormous amount of 
booty from the Isthmus of Panama, and, what was 
of more importance, with a considerably widened 
view as a navigator for he had seen the Pacific 
Ocean, and had come to the determination to find his 
way thither, and to solve the problem of the North- 
VVest passage from the other side of the North 
American continent. About four years afterwards 
Oxenham the rover crossed the isthmus, and, having 
built a pinnace, made prizes amongst the coasters of 
the Pacific which brought bullion from Lima, but he 
was eventually captured and hanged. 1 

Drake's next voyage, which was to 
Drake's hand his name down to history as the 


first circumnavigator, which was to dis- 
pose of the fictions designedly circulated by the 
sailors of Spain and Portugal concerning the almost 
insurmountable difficulties to be met with in the 
Straits of .Magellan on the one hand, and on the 
other in the passage of the Cape of Good Hope ; 
which was, in short, to lay the foundation of England's 
claim of empire over the sea, was commenced in the 
winter of 1577, and, again, at a crisis in the history 

1 Hakluyt gives a short account of the doings of " John 
Oxnam of Plimmouth," vol. iii. p. 526. 


of his country. Don John of Austria, the hero of 
Lepanto, who had become the new governor of the 
Netherlands, undertook his charge with the deliberate 
intention of utilising his Spanish veterans for an in- 
vasion of England. The " Spanish Fury" at Antwerp 
in 1576, and the united demand from both Catholic 
and Protestants for the withdrawal of the Spanish 
troops from the Low Countries, Denied to further his 
purpose admirably. But, designedly or otherwise, 
probably the truth of the matter will never be known, 
the Netherland States insisted on the departure by 
land, and this was effected at the beginning of the 
year. Under these circumstances it need hardly be 
a matter of surprise that Elizabeth should have 
countenanced another scheme, the success of which, 
as she must have foreseen, could only be to the 
detriment of Spain. Possibly another reason for her 
action may be found in the mission of the Marquis of 
Havre from the struggling Netherlander, who feared 
a rapprochement between Don John and the Catholics 
of France. 

A short time before the departure of Drake a re- 
markable letter was sent to the Queen, which may be 
taken as representing the curious mixture of daring 
and diplomacy of the Englishmen of the time. It is 
dated November 6th, and in the original, which is pre- 
served among the Domestic MSS. at the Public Record 
Office, the signature is erased. The writer says : 

" Your Majesty must first seek the kingdom of heaven, 
and make no league with those whom God has divided 
from you. Your Majesty must endeavour to make yourself 
strong and to make them weak, and at sea you can either 


make war on them openly or by colourable means : by 
giving licence, under letters patent, to discover and inhabit 
strange places, with special proviso for their safeties whom 
policy requires to have most annoyed by which means the 
doing the contrary shall be imputed to the executors' fault : 
your Highness's letters patent being a manifest show that 
:t was not your Majesty's pleasure so to have it. After- 
wards, if it seem well, you can avow the fact, or else you 
can disavow the fact and those that did it as league-breakers, 
leaving them to pretend it was done without your privity. 
I will undertake, if you will permit me, to fit out ships, 
well armed, for Newfoundland, where they will meet with 
all the great shipping of France, Spain, and Portugal. The 
best I will bring away and I will bum the rest. Commit 
us afterwards as pirates if you will, but I shall ruin their 
sea force, for they depend on their fishermen for their 
navies. It may be objected that this will be against your 
league; but I hold it as lawful in Christian policy to 
prevent a mischief betimes as to revenge it too late ; espe- 
cially seeing that God himself is a party to the quarrel now 
on foot, and His enemy maliciously disposed towards your 
Highness. You may be told it will ruin our commerce. 
Do not believe it : you will but establish your own supe- 
riority at sea. If you will let us first do this, we will next 
take the West Indies from Spain. You will have the gold 
and silver mines and the profit of the soil. You will be 
monarch of the seas and out of danger from everyone. I 
will do it if you will allow me : only you must resolve and 
not delay or dally The wings of man's life are plumed 
with the feathers of death." 

Froude, who has been quoted, further states that 
the fleet was "equipped by a company of adventurers, 
among whom the Queen and Leicester were the 
largest shareholders," while, as to the ostensible 


object of the expedition, it was " to search the waste 
of the Pacific and find openings for English com- 
merce ; but with private instructions from the Queen, 
which might be shown or withheld, acted upon or not 
acted upon, as convenience might afterwards dictate." 
Drake sailed in December, 1577, in 

Its results. . r r . . 

command of four vessels and a pinnace, 
the largest ship of the squadron being the Pelican 
(afterwards called the Golden Hind, in honour, it is 
supposed, of Sir Christopher Hatton) of only 120 
tons, the total complement of the fleet being 164 
men. It is not necessary here to follow the navi- 
gator in detail in his ever-to-be-remembered voyage. 1 
There was tragedy enough and adventure enough in 
all conscience. At Port St. Julian, on the Patagonian 
coast, Thomas Doughty, the second in command 
and, it has been suggested, a secret agent of the 
Catholic party was executed for mutiny and his 
vessel burnt. Leaving the pinnace at this " port," the 
Pelican , Elizabeth, and the 3o-ton cutter successfully 
passed Magellan's Straits. Meeting violent weather 
on entering the Pacific the cutter was lost, and 
Winter in the Elizabeth, having lost sight of Drake, 
succeeded in making the return passage through 
the Straits, and arrived in England in June, 1578. 
The Pelican, or Golden Hind as the vessel was now 
called, with a ship's company of between eighty and 
ninety men, commenced a career of exploration and 

1 " The World Encompassed by Sir Francis Drake," collated 
with an unpublished manuscript of Francis Fletcher, chaplain 
to the expedition, has been edited for the Hakluyt Society by 
Mr. W. S. W. Vaux, M.A. 



warfare which is unique in history. We have given 
one reference to the records of the voyage, others may 
be found in Hakluyt's collection and in the State 
papers. Apart from the financial results, it is of con- 
siderable interest to note that Drake, in pursuit of 
the north-west passage, sailed northward to the 
Californian coast. He met with hospitable treat- 
ment from the natives, who saw Europeans for the 
first time, and took formal possession of the region, 
which he dubbed " New Albion." But, anxious to 
preserve his questionably gotten treasure, and leaving 
behind the snow-capped mountains of the north, he 
pursued his way by the Pelew and Philippine Islands, 
threaded the Moluccas, doubled the Cape of Good 
Hope, and eventually reached Plymouth in October, 
1580, after an absence of two years and ten months. 
His arrival caused immense sensation, the results of 
the voyage, so far as the treasure was concerned, 
more than confirming the rumours that had preceded 
him, which were chiefly based on the reports sent 
across the Isthmus of Panama to Spain by the 
Viceroy of Callao. The queen shuffled in reply to 
the indignant protests of the Spanish ambassador, 
Mendoza, and knighted Drake. 1 Possibly the delay 

1 Various calculations have been made of the value of the 
tons of silver and the large sums of gold and jewels seized 
either ashore or afloat on the South American coast by this 
single vessel, which contained a mere handful of men. In the 
case of the plundering of the treasure-ship Our Lady of the 
Conception (the Cacafuego the English sailors called her) 
alone, the Spanish Government reckoned their loss at a million 
and a half of ducats (worth about 95. 6d. each), an amount 
which, adds Froude, was never questioned. 


in the action of Spain in reply to this deliberate 
attack upon the sources of her wealth abroad may 
be found in the fact that Philip's attention was 
absorbed in Portugal on the one hand, and in the 
Netherlands on the other. It was in 1580 that he 
seized upon the crown of the former country, his 
claim being based upon the fact that his mother was 
the daughter of King Manuel ; Dom Antonio, a 
natural son of the royal house, and also a claimant, 
was driven out of Portugal, eventually finding an 
asylum in this country. In the same year Philip 
published his infamous Ban, which set a price upon 
the head of William of Orange. 

There can be no question that Drake's ( 

Aspiration. . . . .... 

circumnavigation, disposing as it did 
of many sailors' fictions, opened the eyes of his 
countrymen to the possibilities of a vast foreign 
trade, and at the same time exposed the weak side 
of the much-dreaded power of Spain. It is true, as 
we have to some extent shown, that there was no 
lack of adventurers, some of whom had met with no 
meagre measure of success. But Drake had sailed 
round the whole world, had fought the Spaniards on 
their own high seas, and had come back, loaded with 
untold wealth, to reap honours. To suggest that the j 
Spanish Armada was launched in 1588 merely to 
punish these plunderings of 1577-80 would be absurd. 
Philip after repeated raids on his colonies it is 
true simply attacked England in her turn, and at 
a time most convenient to himself. But in the 
interval a spirit had been growing up for which he 
never calculated, and such men as Drake and John 


Hawkins, Frobisher, Raleigh, and Gilbert were in- 
spired by it. The love of adventure ; the hope of 
something afar off; the stretching forth, as it were, 
of unshackled limbs ; the drinking in of purer and 
unaccustomed air these affected the whole mass of 
a constitutionally vigorous people, who, almost in- 
toxicated as they were by their new-found aspira- 
tions, could approach their Sovereign with a certainty 
of finding sentiments peculiarly in harmony with 
their own ; wisdom, better trained and wider than 
their own ; courage and rough-and-ready daring, equal 
[^ to their own. 

In his graphic picture of the time Sir Walter Besant 
tells of the bronzed and scarred veterans who sat in 
the tavern and told, between their cups of sack, of 
the wonders that lay beyond the ocean, to an audience 
who had not yet got beyond believing in "the 
Ethiopian with four eyes, the Arimaspi with one eye, 
the Hippopodes or Centaurs, the Monopoli, or men 
who have no head, but carry their faces in their 
breasts and their eyes in their shoulders. None of 
these monsters, it is true, had ever been caught and 
brought home ; but many an honest fellow, if hard 
pressed by his hearers, would reluctantly confess to 
having seen them." Of the adventurers of the humbler 
sort we have Miles Philips, who sailed with Hawkins 
to the West Indies and, after the episode of San Juan 
de Ulloa, was put ashore with others near Panuco in 
1568. This man spent many miserable years as a 
prisoner of the Spaniards. His stirring story was 
published in 1582, and is preserved in Hakluyt's 
Collection (vol. iii.), along with that of a fellow- 


mariner, one Job Hortop. Peter Carder, the only 
survivor of the crew of Drake's pinnace, also returned 
to England after an extraordinary series of experi- 
ences in 1586, and told his tale to the Queen. 

These were the circumstances and 

To the East Indies, 

these the times in which Master Ralph 
Fitch and his companions began their memorable 
journey to India and the Far East. Despite the 
relentless cruelties of the Spanish inquisitors, even to 
castaways like Philips, Englishmen could be found in 
any number to join any expedition even to unknown 
regions. But in this case a systematic attempt was 
to be made to study on the spot the nature of a trade 
which had so much enriched the two great monarchies 
of Spain and Portugal. The undertaking cannot be 
described altogether as an exploration, for the 
travellers mainly followed well-beaten tracks. It 
was mainly intended to get at the sources of a most 
profitable system of commerce ; and whether the 
ultimate end was to be a diversion of some of it to 
the benefit of the already growing Levant trade with 
England, or to establish over-sea communications vid 
the Cape which ultimately proved to be the case 
were matters probably left for consideration till after 
the results of the venture were made known. A 
superior class of man was obviously required for 
such an enterprise. Newberie was an experienced 
traveller and merchant, Fitch was eminently fitted 
for the task by education, native shrewdness, and the 
power of clear, concise description, as the reader will 
shortly have an opportunity of judging. Leedes and 
Story were at least clever tradesmen. So far as the 


records go, the little party had only been preceded in 
the journey to India by one Englishman, Stevens the 
Jesuit, whom they found at Goa and who had reached 
that emporium as early as 1579 by a different route. 
They began their journey at a most critical period 
in European history, and voluntarily placed them- 
selves in the power of their country's most bigoted 
and bitter enemy, whose wrath had just been excited 
by the depredations of a fellow-countryman. For 
cool and deliberate daring the journey of Fitch and 
his fellow-travellers hardly finds a parallel even in 
Elizabethan history ; its ultimate results will be found 
in a modern map of India. 



[Walker & Boutall, London. 




HE setting forth of Master Ralph Fitch and his 
companions appears to have had its origin in the 
enterprise of the newly formed Levant 

The Levant or ~ r , , 

Turkey company. Company, afterwards known as the 
Turkey Company. Records are pre- 
served of voyages made early in the sixteenth century 
to various Mediterranean ports in Sicily, Crete, Cyprus, 
and to Tripoli and Beyrout in Syria, while we had a 
Consul stationed at Chios as early as 1 5 1 3. In Hakluyt's 
Collection we find an account of the perilous voyage 
of the Holy Cross and the Matthew Gonson to Crete 
and Chios in 1534. In 1550 Captain Bodenham, in 
"the great Barke Aucher" went the same journey, 
and states that " Richard Chancellor, who first dis- 
covered Russia, was with me in that voyage." Three 
years later Anthony Jenkinson, already referred to, 
who was then at Aleppo, obtained " a safe conduct " 
from Sultan Solyman, which has been described as 
the actual foundation of our future capitulations and 



the commencement of the Levant Company. In 
1579 three merchants, William Harebone (or Hare- 
borne), Edward Ellis, and Richard Staple (apparently 
the Richard Staper mentioned below), were sent to 
Constantinople to obtain for English merchants the 
privileges enjoyed by other nations. 1 In 1581 Eliza- 
beth entered into a treaty with Amurath (Murad) III. 
for five years, and granted letters patent to a small 
company entitled, " The Company of Merchants of 
the Levant." The charter was issued to Sir Edward 
Osborne, Thomas Smith, Richard Staper, and William 
Garret. " Her Majesty therefore grants unto those 
four merchants and to such other Englishmen, not 
exceeding twelve in number, as the said Sir E. Osborn 
and Staper shall appoint to be joined to them and 
their factors, servants, and deputies, for the space of 
seven years to trade to Turkey." The exclusive right 

1 " Early Voyages and Travels in the Levant," edited for the 
Hakluyt Society by the late Mr. J. Theodore Bent, F.S.A., 
F.R.G.S. The author further points out that the carrying trade 
between England and the Levant had hitherto been chiefly in 
the hands of the Venetians. Their ships were called "argosies," 
and Sir Paul Ricaut, some time Consul at Smyrna, gives an 
unexpected explanation of the name by stating that they were 
so called because they were built at Ragusa, z'.., " Ragosies." 
In 1575, after one of their vessels had been wrecked on the Isle 
of Wight, the Venetian merchants hesitated to navigate such 
dangerous seas, and in the same year a dispute arose concern- 
ing duties. Still another cause which tended to promote our 
independent intercourse with Turkey was that Elizabeth entered 
upon her vital contest with Philip II. ; in fact, in 1587, in view 
of the Armada preparations, her agent at Constantinople was 
actually instructed to appeal to the Sultan for aid against 
"the idolater the King of Spain," happily without practical 


to trade was given on three clauses subject to 
revocation on a year's notice ; that the Queen might 
add two members to the number of patentees ; and 
that a renewal for another seven years might be 
granted, provided that the said exclusive trade should 
not appear to be unprofitable to the kingdom. Such 
was the original charter, and what happened soon 
afterwards was distinctly characteristic of a period 
when the highest in the land felt, and did not hesitate 
to show, a warm personal interest in the development 
of the commerce of the country. It is recorded that 
in the early days of the enterprise, " the members of 
the association attending on the Queen and Council 
received great thanks and high commendation * for 
the ships they then built of so great burthen/ with 
many encouragements also to go forward ' for the 
kingdom's sake.' " * The first vessel despatched by ' 
the new organisation of merchants was sent out in 
1582. It was called the Great Susan, and carried 
William Hareborne, our first plenipotentiary (or 
ambassador as Hakluyt describes him) to the Sultan. 

1 "The Early Chartered Companies," q.v. It is hardly 
necessary to add that by the natural operations of time and 
change the Turkey Company at last entered upon a period of 
disintegration and decay, but it did not cease to exist till 1825. 
Chesney (" Survey of Euphrates and Tigris ") states that New- 
berie and Fitch were sent out by the Company. He also refers 
to a petition from the Company to the Queen, given in the 
Cotton Collection (Nero B. viii. 47), requesting a loan. It 
is dated 1583, and states that they have already laid out 
"45,000 Ibs.," and that this was not sufficient to defray their 
great charges. The text of the charter is preserved in Hakluyt, 
vol. ii. 


He was an active trade organiser, and we find him 
the following year appointing Richard Elliott as 
Consul at Tripoli. In 1586 a charter was granted to 
fifty-three individuals to trade in the Levant, the 
principal mart being Aleppo, where Michael Lock 
had been established as Consul. 

The leadership in the enterprise of which Master 
Fitch has left us so graphic an account, was en- 
trusted to Master John Newberie whose adventures 
will be described later on to whom the Queen, as a 
mark of her cognisance and encouragement, granted 
the following letters missive to the Emperor Akbar 
and " the King of China " : 

"Elizabeth by the grace of God, &c. 

To the most inuincible > and most mightie 
prince, lord Zelabdim Echebar king of 
Cambaya. Inuincible Emperor, &c. The great affection 
which our Subiects haue to visit the most distant places of 
the world, not without good will and intention to introduce 
the trade of marchandize of al nations whatsoeuer they can, 
by which meanes the mutual and friendly trafique of 
marchandize on both sides may came, is the cause that the 
bearer of this letter lohn Newbery, ioyntly with those that 
be in his company, with a curteous and honest boldnesse, 
doe repaire to the borders and countreys of your Empire, 
we doubt not but that your imperial Maiestie through your 
royal grace, will fauourably and friendly accept him. And 
that you would doe it the rather for our sake, to make vs 
greatly beholding to your Maiestie; wee should more 
earnestly, and with more wordes require it, if wee did think 
it needful. But by the singular report that is of your 
imperial Maiesties humanitie in these vttermost parts of 
the world, we are greatly eased of that burden, and therefore 


wee vse the fewer and lesse words : onely we request that 
because they are our subiects, they may be honestly 
intreated and receiued. And that in respect of the hard 
iourney which they haue vndertaken to places so far distant, 
it would please your Maiesty with some libertie and securitie 
of voiage to gratifie it, with such priuileges as to you shall 
seeme good : which curtesie if your Imperiall maiestie shal 
to our subiects at our requests performe, wee, according to 
our royall honour, wil recompence the same with as many 
deserts as we can. And herewith we bid your Imperial 
Maiestie to farewel." 

" Elizabeth by the grace of God Queene of 
England, &c. Most Imperial and inuincible 
prince, our honest subiect lohn Newbery the 
bringer hereof, who with our fauour hath taken in hand the 
voyage which nowe hee pursueth to the parts and countreys 
of your Empire, not trusting vpon any other ground then 
vpon the fauour of your Imperiall clemencie and humanitie, 
is mooued to vndertake a thing of so much difficultie, being 
perswaded that hee hauing entred into so many perils, your 
Maiestie will not dislike the same, especially, if it may 
appeare that it be not damageable vnto your royall Maiestie, 
and that to your people it will bring some profite : of both 
which things he not doubting, with more willing minde 
hath prepared himselfe for his destinated voyage vnto us 
well liked of. For by this meanes we perceiue, that the 
profit which by the mutual trade on both sides, al the 
princes our neighbors in y e West do receiue, your Imperial 
maiestie & those that be subiect vnder your dominion, to 
their great ioy and benefit shal haue the same, which 
consisteth in the transporting outward of such things 
whereof we haue plenty, & in bringing in such things as we 
stand in need of. It cannot otherwise be, but that seeing 
we are borne and made need one of another, & that wee 


are bound to aide one another, but that your imperial 
Maiestie wil wel like of it, & by your subiects w 1 like 
indeuor wil be accepted. For the increase whereof, if your 
imperial Maiestie shall adde the securitie of passage, with 
other priuileges most necessary to vse the trade with your 
men, your maiestie shall doe that which belongeth to a 
most honorable & liberal prince, and deserue so much of 
vs, as by no cotinuance or length of time shal be forgotten. 
Which request of ours we do most instantly desire to be take 
in good part of your maiestie, and so great a benefit towards 
vs & our men, we shall endeuor by diligence to requite when 
time shal serue thereunto. The God Almighty long pre- 
serue your Imperial maiestie." l 

Sundry letters written during the journey will be 
given in their due order, but of all the party Fitch 
alone appears to have returned. In the introduction 
of his second volume, and in dedicating the book to 
Sir Robert Cecil, " principall Secretarie to her 
Maiestie," Hakluyt says that Fitch, " like another 
Paulus Venetus returned home to the place of his 
departure, with ample relation of his wonderful 
trauailes, which he presented in writing to my Lord 
your father, of honourable memorie," and further on 
he describes the traveller as " now liuing in London." 2 

1 Both the letters are given in Hakluyt, vol. ii. part i. 

s Sir Robert Cecil, son of the great Lord Burleigh, first came 
into prominence toward the end of 1 592, when he was appointed 
one of the commissioners for the disposal of the contents of a 
valuable prize carrack which had been captured from the 
Spaniards and brought into Dartmouth. " He is the subject of 
an anecdote which Anthony Bacon, with a spice of malice, relates 
to the Earl of Essex. Lord Wemyss from Scotland, coming out 
from the Privy Chamber after an interview with the Queen, 


The following is the story of the journey which was 
to lead to such pregnant results, given in the quaint 
English in which it was written three centuries ago, 
and with Hakluyt's marginal notes and comments. 
To some extent it must be admitted as Mr. W. 
Foster, secretary of the Hakluyt Society, has 
suggested that Fitch's relation is based on the 
framework of that of Caesar Frederick, the Venetian 
merchant, which was Englished before his return in 
1591. Caesar Frederick left Venice twenty years 
earlier, in 1563, pursuing the same course to the Far 
East. There is certainly much similarity in the two 
accounts of the first portion of the common journey, 
from Tripoli to Aleppo and down the Euphrates and 
Tigris to Ormuz. But at this point our traveller 
begins an entirely new story, relates a new set 
of adventures, and even where the Venetian and the 
Englishman come to describe the same cities and 
scenes we have, in the following narrative, the 
advantage of looking at them for the first time 
through English eyes : 


"The voyage of M. Ralph Fitch marchant of 
London by the way of Tripolis in Syria, to Ormus, 

asked the Lord Chamberlain for Sir Robert. ' Why, Sir,' said 
he, ' he was within.' ' By my soul,' saith the Lord Wemyss, ' I 
could not see him.' ' No marvel,' said Sir George Carey, 
* being so little,' whereat the Lord Wemyss confessed he burst 
out of laughing" (Calendar of MS. preserved at Hatfield, 
parts iv. and v. Hist. MSS. Commission, 1892, 1894). 

1 From Hakluyt's "Principall Navigations," 1599-1600, 
vol. ii. part i. 


and so to Goa in the East India, to Cambaia, and all 
the kingdome of Zelabdim Echebar the great Mogor, 
to the mighty riuer Ganges, and downe to Bengala, 
to Bacola, and Chonderi, to Pegu, to lamahay in the 
kingdome of Siam, and backe to Pegu, and from 
thence to Malacca, Zeilan, Cochin, and all the coast of 
the East India : begunne in the yeere of our Lord 
1583, and ended 1591, wherein the strange rites, 
maners, and customes of those people, and the exceed- 
ing rich trade and commodities of those countries are 
faithfully set downe and diligently described, by the 
aforesaid M. Ralph Fitch. 

"In the yeere of our Lord 1583, I 
Ralph Fitch of London marchant being 
desirous to see the countreys of the East 
India, in the company of M. lohn New- 
berie marchant (which had beene at 
Ormus once before) of William Leedes 
leweller, and lames Story Painter, being 
chiefly set foorth by the right worshipfull 
Sir Edward Osborne knight, and M. 
Richard Staper citizens and marchants 
of London, did ship my selfe in a ship of 
London called the Tyger, wherein we 
went for Tripolis in Syria : & from 
thence we tooke the way for Aleppo, 
which we went in seuen dayes with the 
Carouan. 1 Being in Aleppo, and finding 

1 A member of the party who sailed in the Tyger was 
Master John Eldred, another London merchant and pioneer 
of note, of whom more anon. The following extract from 
Purchas (1625, book ix. chap, ix.) will be read with interest : 


good company, we went from thence to 
Birra, which is two dayes and an halfe 
trauaile with Camels. 

Bjrra . " Birra is a little towne, but very 

plentifull of victuals : and neere to the 
wall of the towne runneth the riuer of 
Euphrates. 1 Here we bought a boate 
and agreed with a master and bargemen, 
for to go to Babylon. These boats be 
but for one voiage ; for the streame doth 
runne so fast downewardes that they 
cannot returne. They carie you to a 
towne which they call Felugia, and there 
you sell the boate for a litle money, for 
that which cost you fiftie at Birra you 
sell there for seuen or eight. From 
Birra to Felugia is sixteene dayes 
iourney, it is not good that one boate 

"Aleppo is called of the inhabitants Haleb, the chief Mart of 
all the East, frequented by Persians, Indians, Armenians and 
all Europeans. The Port is Scanderone, called by the Inhabi- 
tants Escanderuneh. The soyle is very fertile, & nourisheth 
abundance of Silke-wormes. . . . And besides other wealth 
innumerable, it hath eight Armories well furnished. It now 
flourisheth in the next 'place to Constantinople and Cairo, and 
may be called, Queen of the East : Here are store of Gems 
Ambar, Bengeoin, Lignum, Aloes Muske." The Italian word 
Aleppo dates from the time when the Venetians dominated 
the Eastern trade, and it is stated that many Venetian families 
still survive and carry on characteristic industries. Commerce 
with Europe continues to pass chiefly through Scanderoon 
(Iskanderun), now better known as Alexandretta. 

1 Evidently Birejik or Bir, on the left bank of the Euphrates 
and at the head of the navigation on that river. 



goe alone, for if it should chance to 
breake, you should haue much a doe 
to saue your goods from the Arabians, 
which be alwayes there abouts robbing : 
and in the night when your boates be 
made fast, it is necessarie that you keepe 
good watch. For the Arabians that bee 
theeues, will come swimming and steale 
your goods and flee away, against which 
a gunne is very good, for they doe feare 
it very much. In the riuer of Euphrates 
from Birra to Felugia there be certaine 
places where you pay custome, so many 
- Medines x for a some or Camels lading, 
and certaine raysons and sope, which is 
for the sonnes of Aborise, which is Lord 
of the Arabians and all that great desert, 
and hath some villages vpon the riuer. 

Feiugia. Felugia where you vnlade your goods 

which come from Birra is a little village: 
from whence you goe to Babylon in a 
day. 2 

Babylon, " Babylon is a towne not very great 

but very populous, and of great traffike 
of strangers, for that is the way to Persia, 
Turkia and Arabia : and from thence 
doe goe Carouans for these and other 
places. Here are great store of victuals, 
which come from Armenia downe the 

1 A Turkish coin of small value. 

3 Feluja stands on the Euphrates W. by N. of Bagdad, with 
which city it is connected by the Sarsar Canal. 


riuer of Tygris. They are brought vpon 
raftes made of goates skinnes blowne 
full of winde and hordes layde vpon 
them : and thereupon they lade their 
goods which are brought downe to 
Babylon, which being discharged they 
open their skinnes, and carry them 
backe by Camels, to serue another time. 
Babylon in times past did belong to the 
kingdome of Persia, but nowe is subiect 
to the Turke. Ouer against Babylon 
there is a very faire village from whence 
you passe to Babylon vpon a long bridge 
made of boats, and tyed to a great 
chaine of yron, which is made fast on 
either side of the riuer. When any 
boates are to passe vp or downe the 
riuer, they take away certaine of the 
boates vntill they be past. 1 

The Tower of " The Tower of Babel is built on this 

side the riuer Tygris, towardes Arabia 
from the towne about seuen or eight 

1 Master Fitch refers to Bagdad. Purchas (book x. chap, vi.) 
testily observes in a marginal note, " Babilon (so vulgarly but 
falsely it is called), the true name is Bagdet;" he adds: "It 
is the Citie Royall of Mesopotamia, now called Diarbecr, which 
the said Almansur, placed in a large Plaine upon Tigris, and 
divided by the River into two Cities, joyned by a bridge of 
boats." Caesar Frederick gives a similar account of " Babylon " 
on the Tigris, and a recent description of Bagdad states that 
a boat bridge still connects the two portions of the city. It 
is only when we come to the story of the " Tower of Babel " 
in Master Fitch's interesting narrative that some confusion 


miles, which tower is ruinated on all 
sides, and with the fall thereof hath 
made as it were a little mountaine, so 
that it hath no shape at all : it was 
made of brickes dried in the sonne, and 
certaine canes and leaues of the palme 
tree layed betwixt the brickes. There is 
no entrance to be scene to goe into it. 
It doth stand vpon a great plaine betwixt 
the riuers of Euphrates and Tygris. 1 

S&L* " B y the riuer Euphrates two dayes 

out of the earth. Journey from Babylon at a place called 

Ait, in a fielde neere vnto it, is a strange 

1 From this location, which accords with that of Caesar 
Frederick, who, however, designates the remains " the Tower 
of Nimrod or Babel," Master Fitch may refer to the mound 
marking the great temple of Bel, the Babil or Mujellibe. A 
similar temple known as the Birs Nimroud, and generally be- 
lieved by old travellers to be the veritable remains of the Tower 
of Babel, was built at the Babylonian suburb of Borsippa on the 
western side of Euphrates and is described by Layard in his 
" Discoveries in Nineveh and Babylon." It stands about six 
miles to the south-west of Hillah. Consisting of a great heap 
of bricks, slag, and broken pottery, " The dry nitrous earth of 
the parched plain, driven before the furious south wind, has 
thrown over the huge mass a thin covering of soil in which 
no herb or green thing can find nourishment or take root. 
Thus . . . the Birs Nimroud is ever a bare and yellow heap. 
It rises to the height of 198 feet, and has on its summit a com- 
pact mass of brickwork, 37 feet high by 28 broad (these dimen- 
sions are from Mr. Rich), the whole being thus 235 feet in per- 
pendicular height." As Fitch was seized with sickness at 
Bagdad and afterwards continued his journey down the Tigris 
(see his letter from Goa), it is not likely that he crossed the 
Babylonian plain to view the Birs Nimroud. 


thing to see: a mouth that doth con- 
tinually throwe foorth against the ayre 
boyling pitch with a filthy smoke : 
which pitch doth runne abroad into a 
great fielde which is alwayes full thereof. 
The Moores say that it is the mouth of 
hell. By reason of the great quantitie 
of it, the men of that countrey doe pitch 
their boates two or three inches thicke 
on the outside, so that no water doth 
enter into them. 1 Their boates be called 
Danec. When there is great store of 
water in Tygris you may goe from 
Babylon to Basora in 8 or 9 dayes : if 
there be small store it will cost you the 
more dayes. 

" Basora in times past was vnder the 
Arabians, but now is subiect to the 
Turke. 2 But some of them the Turke 
cannot subdue, for that they holde cer- 
taine Ilandes in the riuer Euphrates 
which the Turke cannot winne of them. 
They be theeues all and haue no setled 
dwelling, but remoue from place to 
place with their Camels, goates, and 
horses, wiues and children and all. 
They have large blew gownes, their 
wiues eares and noses are ringed very 
full of rings of copper and siluer, and 

1 The bituminous fountains of Hit (Chesney, vol. ii. p. 636). 
- Busra, or Bussorah, is the principal Turkish port on the 
Persian Gulf. 


they weare rings of copper about their 

"Basora standeth neere the gulfe of 
Persia, and is a towne of great trade 
of spices and drugges which come from 
Ormus. Also there is great store of 
wheate, ryce, and dates growing there- 
about, wherewith they serue Babylon 
and all the countrey, Ormus, and all the 
partes of India. I went from Basora 
to Ormus downe the gulfe of Persia in 
a certaine shippe made of boordes, and 
sowed together with cayro, which is 
threede made of the huske of Cocoes, 
and certaine canes or strawe leaues 
sowed vpon the seames of the bordes 
which is the cause that they leake very 
much. And so hauing Persia alwayes 
on the left hande, and the coast of 
Arabia on the right hande we passed 
many Ilandes, and among others the 
famous Hande Baharim from whence 
come the best pearles which be round 
and Orient. 1 

" Ormus is an Island in circuit about 
fiue and twentie or thirtie miles, and is 
the driest Island in the world : for there 
is nothing growing in it but onely salt : 
for their water, wood, or victuals, and 
all things necessary come out of Persia, 

Bahrein, or Aval Island : still noted for its pearl fisheries. 


which is about twelue miles from thence. 1 
All the Hands thereabout be very fruit- 
full, from whence all kinds of victuals are 
sent vnto Ormus. The Portugales haue 
a castle here which standeth neere vnto 
the sea, wherein there is a Captaine for 
the king of Portugale hauing vnder 
him a conuenient number of souldiers, 
whereof some parte remaine in the 
castle, and some in the towne. In this 
towne are marchants of all Nations, 
and many Moores and Gentiles. Here 
is very great trade of all sortes of spices, 

1 The island of Ormuz, Hormuz, or Jerun, at the entrance to 
the Persian Gulf from the Gulf of Oman, is thirteen miles in 
circumference, and presents an extraordinary appearance from 
the sea, the mountains in the southern half being of variegated 
colours, from extensive impregnations of salt, sulphur, and 
other minerals. From the fourteenth to the seventeenth cen- 
tury it formed one of the richest trade depots in the East. 
The great Albuquerque captured the place in 1 507-8 in pursuit 
of his policy of destroying the commerce carried on by the 
Muhammadans with India. Professor Morse Stephens, in his 
"Albuquerque" (Rulers of India Series, Clarendon Press, 
1892), states that the future viceroy, having taken part in the 
seizure of Socotra, intended to penetrate the Red Sea, but, 
having obtained a chart of the Persian Gulf made by a Muham- 
madan pilot, he went thither instead. " The wealth and pros- 
perity of Ormuz is described in glowing terms by all early 
travellers in Asia, and it is called in ancient books * the richest 
jewel set in the ring of the world.' :3 The British and Persians 
gained possession of the island in 1622, and Ormuz now belongs 
to Persia ; the trade, however, has been transferred to Bandar 
Abbas, the harbour has silted up, and there are but few inhabi- 
tantsfishermen and salt-diggers. 


drugs, silke, cloth of silke, fine tapestrie 
of Persia, great store of pearles which 
come from the Isle of Baharim, and are 
the best pearles of all others, and many 
horses of Persia, which serue all India. 
They haue a Moore to their king which 
is chosen and gouerned by the Portu- 
gales. Their women are very strangely 
attyred, wearing on their noses, eares, 
neckes, armes and legges many rings 
set with Jewels, and lockes of siluer and 
golde in their eares, and a long barre 
of golde vpon the side of their noses. 
Their eares with the weight of their 
iewels be worne so wide, that a man 
may thrust three of his fingers into 

" Here very shortly after our arriuall 
wee were put in prison, and had part of 
our goods taken from vs by the Captaine 
of the castle, whose name was Don 
Mathias de Albuquerque ; and from 
hence the eleuenth of October he 
shipped vs and sent vs for Goa vnto 
the Viceroy, which at that time was 
Don Francisco de Mascarenhas. The 
shippe wherein we were imbarked for 
Goa belonged to the Captaine, and car- 
ried one hundred twentie and foure 
horses in it. All marchandise carried 
to Goa in a shippe wherein are horses 
pay no custome in Goa. The horses 


pay custome, the goods pay nothing ; 
but if you come in a ship which bringeth 
no horses, you are then to pay eight in 
the hundred for your goods. 

"The first citie of India that we 
arriued at vpon the fift of Nouember, 
after we had passed the coast of Zindi, 1 
. is called Diu, 2 which standeth in an 

Hand in the kingdome of Cambaia, and 
is the strongest towne that the Portu- 
gales haue in those partes. It is but 
litle, but well stored with marchandise ; 
for here they lade many great shippes 
with diuerse commodities for the streits 
of Mecca, for Ormus, and other places, 
and these be shippes of the Moores and 
of Christians. But the Moores cannot 
passe, except they haue a passeport 
from the Portugales. Cambaiettas is 
the chiefe citie of that prouince, which 
is great and very populous, and fairely 
builded for a towne of the Gentiles : 
but if there happen any famine, the 
people will sell their children for very 
little. The last king of Cambaia was 
Sultan Badu, which was killed at the 
siege of Diu, and shortly after his 
citie was taken by the great Mogor, 
which is the king of Agra and of Belli, 

' Sind. 

2 The island of Diu is still in possession of the Portuguese. 

3 Cambay. 


which are fortie dayes iourney from the 
country of Cambaia. Here the women 
weare vpon their armes infinite numbers 
of rings made of Elepsants teeth, wherein 
they take so much delight, that they 
had rather be without their meate 
then without their bracelets. Going 
Daman. from Diu we come to Daman the second 

towne of the Portugales in the countrey 
of Cambaia which is distant from Diu 
fortie leagues. 1 Here is no trade but 
of corne and rice. They haue many 
villages vnder them which they quietly 
possesse in time of peace, but in time 
of warre the enemie is maister of 

*^ m ' " From thence we passed by Basaim, 

chaui. and from Basaim to Tana, at both 

which places is small trade but only of 
corne and rice. The tenth of Nouember 
we arriued at Chaul which standeth in 
the firme land. There be two townes, 
the one belonging to the Portugales, 
and the other to the Moores. That of 
the Portugales is neerest to the sea, and 
commaundeth the bay, and is walled 
round about. A little aboue that is the 
towne of the Moores which is gouerned 

1 Daman in Guzerat also remains a Portuguese possession, 
and consists of a town and settlement covering an area of 82 
square miles (Hunter's " Imperial Gazetteer of India "). 


by a Moore king called Xa-Maluco. 1 
Here is great traffike for all sortes of 
spices and drugges, silke, and cloth of 
silke, sandales, Elephants teeth, and 
much China worke, and much sugar 
which is made of the nutte called 
Gagara : the tree is called the palmer : 
which is the profitablest tree in the 
worlde : it doth alwayes beare fruit, 
and doth yeeld wine, oyle, sugar, 
vineger, cordes, coles, of the leaues are 
made thatch for the houses, sayles for 
shippes, mats to sit or lie on : of the 
branches they make their houses, and 
broomes to sweepe, of the tree wood 
for shippes. The wine doeth issue out 

1 The travellers apparently passed into the Bassein inlet, 
separating the island of Salsette from the mainland where the 
chief town of the Tanna district, Bassein, now stands. It is 
recorded that the situation early attracted the notice of the 
Portuguese as affording a convenient rendezvous for shipping, 
and the town and land adjoining were ceded to them in 1534 by 
Shah Bahadur, King of Guzerat. The place grew to a position 
of considerable importance ; it now forms portion of the 
Bombay Presidency (Hunter). John Huyghen van Linschoten 
(of whom more hereafter) in his "Voyage" (Hakluyt Society, 
1885, vol. i.) thus describes this portion of the coast where the 
Portuguese had established forts : " first Daman from thence 
fifteene miles under 19 degrees and a halfe the town of Basaiin, 
from Basaiin ten miles under 19 degrees the Towne and fort of 
Chaul, from Chaul to Dabul are tenne miles, and lyeth under 
1 8 degrees : from Dabul to the town and Island of Goa are 30 
miles, which lyeth under 15 degrees and a halfe." It will be 
noticed that in the account of his return voyage Fitch gives the 
distance between Goa and Chaul as threescore leagues. 


of the toppe of the tree. They cut 
a branch of a bowe and binde it hard, 
and hange an earthen pot vpon it, 
which they emptie euery morning and 
euery euening, and still it and put in 
certaine dried raysins, and it becommeth 
strong wine in short time. Hither 
many shippes come from all partes of 
India, Ormus, and many from Mecca : 
heere be manie Moores and Gentiles. 
They haue a very strange order among 
them, they worshippe a cowe, and 
esteeme much of the cowes doung to 
paint the walles of their houses. They 
will kill nothing not so much as a 
louse : for they holde it a sinne to kille 
anything. They eate no flesh, but Hue 
by rootes, and ryce, and milke. And 
when the husbande dieth his wife is 
burned with him, if shee be aliue : if 
she will not, her head is shauen, and 
then is neuer any account made of her 
after. They say if they should be 
buried, it were a great sinne, for of 
their bodies there would come many 
wormes and other vermine, and when 
their bodies were consumed, those 
wormes would lacke sustenance, which 
were a sinne, therefore they will be 
burned. In Cambaia they will kill 
nothing, nor haue anything killed : in 
the towne they haue hospitals to keepe 


lame dogs and cats, and for birds. 
They will giue meat to the Ants. 
Goa - " Goa is the most principal citie which 

the Portugals haue in India, wherein 
the Viceroy remaineth with his court. 
It standeth in an Hand, which may be 
25, or 30, miles about. It is a fine citie, 
and for an Indian towne very faire. 
The Hand is very faire, full of orchards 
and gardens, and many palmer trees, 
and hath some villages. Here bee many 
marchants of all nations. And the 
Fleete which commeth euery yeere 
from Portugal, which be foure, fiue, or 
sixe great shippes, commeth first hither. 
And they come for the most part in 
September, and remaine there fortie or 
fiftie dayes ; and then goe to Cochin, 
where they lade their Pepper for 
Portugall. Oftentimes they lade one 
in Goa, the rest goe to Cochin which is 
from Goa an hundred leagues south- 
ward. Goa standeth in the countrey 
of Hidalcan, who lieth in the countrey 
sixe or seuen dayes iourney. His 
chiefe citie is called Bisapor. 1 

1 " Hidalcan" is probably a corruption of the title of the ruler 
of the Mussulman state of Bijapur, the Adil Shah, or Khan. 
Ibrahim Adil II., then an infant, succeeded his uncle Ali Adil 
Shah in 1579, and on assuming the government ruled with 
ability, dying in 1626 (Hunter). 


This was the 20 1 ^ our comming we were cast into 

of Nouemoer. 

the prison, and examined before the 
Justice, and demanded for letters, and 
were charged to be spies, but they 
could prooue nothing by vs. We 
continued in prison vntill the two and 
twentie of December, and then we were 
set at libertie, putting in sureties for 
two thousand duckats not to depart the 
towne ; which sureties father Steuens 
an English lesuite which we found 
there, & another religious ma a friend 
of his procured for vs. Our sureties 
name was Andreas Taborer, to whom 
we paid 2150. duckats, and still he 
demaunded more : where vpon we made 
sute to the Viceroy and Justice to haue 
our money againe, considering that 
they had had it in their hands neere 
fiue moneths and could prooue nothing 
against vs. The Viceroy made vs a 
very sharpe answere, and sayde wee 
should be better sifted before it were 
long, and that they had further matter 
against vs. Wherevpon we presently 
determined rather to seeke our liberties, 
then to bee in danger for euer to be 
slaues in the country, for it was told vs 
we should haue y e strapado. Where- 
vpon presently, the fift day of April 
1585. in the morning we ranne from 
1 Fitch himself gives the date November 29, see page 65. 


thence. And being set ouer the riuer, 
we went two dayes on foote not with- 
out feare, not knowing the way nor 
hauing any guide, for we durst trust 

[Some curious details of the imprisonment and 
escape of the adventurers will be found in the follow- 
ing chapter. The narrative is continued on page 92.] 




I T'URTHER particulars of the experiences of the 
1 four travellers at Goa are given in the corre- 
spondence they sent home and happily preserved in 
Hakluyt's Collection (vol. ii.). But even more 
interest attaches to the independent account of their 
arrival, detention, and escape given by John Huyghen 
van Linschoten, the Netherlander, who, as a pioneer 
of discovery and commerce, stands to his own 
countrymen at least in quite as prominent a position 
as Fitch occupies in regard to the East India Com- 
pany. This was the most critical episode in the 
voyage, and it may be suggested that Fitch's and 
Newberie's letters reproduced in this chapter were 
written with due caution. 

The following is the text of a letter 
Ralph Fitch to written, during his arrest, by Master 

Leonard Poore. 

Ralph Fitch to his friend Master 
Leonard Foore of London : 


" Louing friend Master Poore, &c. Since my departure 
from Aleppo, I haue not written vnto you any letters, by 
reason that at Babylon, I was sicke of the fluxe, and being 
sicke, I went from thence for Balsara, which was twelue dayes 
iourney downe the riuer Tygris, where we had extreme hot 
weather, which was good for my disease, ill fare, and worse 
lodging, by reason our boat was pestered with people. In 
eight daies, that which I did eate was very small, so that if 
we had stayed two dayes longer vpon the water, I thinke I 
had died : but comming to Balsara, presently I mended, I 
thanke God. There we stayed 14 dayes, and then we 
imbarked our selues for Ormuz, where we arriued the fifth 
of September, and were put in prison the ninth of the 
same moneth, where we continued vntill the 1 1 of October, 
and then were shipt for this citie of Goa in the captaines 
ship, with an 114 horses, and about 200 men : and passing 
by Diu & Chaul, where we went on land to water the 20 of 
Nouember, we arriued at Goa the 29 of the said moneth, 
where for our better intertainment we were presently put 
into a faire strong prison, were we continued vntil the 22 
of December. It was the will of God that we found there 
2 Padres, the one an Englishman, the other a Flemming. 
The Englishmans name is Padre Thomas Steuens, the 
others Padre Marco, of the order of S. Paul. These did 
sue for vs vnto the Viceroy and other officers, and stood vs 
in as much stead, as our Hues and goods were woorth : for 
if they had not stucke to vs, if we had escaped with our 
Hues, yet we had had long imprisonment. 

" After 14 dayes imprisonment they offered vs, if we could 
put in suerties for 2000 duckats, we should goe abroad in 
the towne : which when we could not doe, the said Padres 
found suerties for vs, that we should not depart the countrey 
without the licence of the Viceroy. It doth spite the 
Italians to see vs abroad : and many maruell at our 
deliuery. The painter is in the cloister of S. Paul, and is 



of their order, and liketh there very well. While we were 
in prison both at Ormuz and here, there was a great deale 
of our goods pilfered and lost, and we haue beene at great 
charges in gifts and otherwise, so that a great deale of our 
goods is consumed. There is much of our things which 
wil sell very well, & some we shall get nothing for. I hope 
in God that at the returne of the Viceroy, which is gone to 
Chaul and to Diu, they say, to winne a castle of the Moores, 
whose returne is thought will be about Easter, then we 
shall get our libertie, and our suerties discharged. Then I 
thinke it wil be our best way, either one or both to returne, 
because our troubles haue bene so great, & so much of our 
goods spoyled and lost. But if it please God that I come 
into England, by Gods helpe, I will returne hither againe. 
It is a braue and pleasant countrey, and very fruitfull. The 
summer is almost all the yeere long, but the chiefest at 

" The day and the night are all of one length, very little 
difference, and marueilous great store of fruits. For all our 
great troubles yet are we fat and well liking, for victuals are 
here plentie and good cheape. And here I will passe ouer 
to certifie you of strange things, vntil our meeting, for it 
would be too long to write thereof. And thus I commit 
you to God, who euer preserue you and vs all. From Goa 
in the East Indies the 25 of Januarie 1584. Yours to 
command, Ralph Fitch." 

The following account of the arrival 
Lhischoten's anc j secret departure of the Englishmen 
is given by John Huyghen van Lin- 
schoten, the young Dutchman who was in the train 
of the Archbishop of Goa. He may be accepted as 
an entirely unbiassed witness. His animadversions 
concerning the Jesuits and their designs contrast 


strangely with the terms of respect, not to say affec- 
tion, in which he refers here and elsewhere to his 
master, the archbishop, who exerted a beneficent 
influence on behalf of the English prisoners. The 
reprint is from " The Voyage of John Huyghen van 
Linschoten to the East Indies, from the old English 
translation of 1598, the first book containing his 
description of the East," in two volumes, published 
by the Hakluyt Society. The first volume was edited 
by the late Dr. A. C. Burnell, and the second by 
Mr. P. A. Tiele, of Utrecht. Dr. Burnell expresses 
the opinion that the original English version was 
poorly done, and he has adopted the method of 
bracketing the redundancies in the text and giving 
important corrections in footnotes, a plan followed by 
Mr. Tiele. The late Sir Henry Yule and Dr. Kern 
have also added explanatory notes. In the following 
extract most of the disputed passages are ignored 
and only the most important footnotes are repro- 
duced. A brief biographical sketch of Linschoten, 
with some account of the great service he rendered in 
the opening up of the East, will be found in a latter 
portion of this work (page 213) : 

" In the moneth of December, 1 Anno, 1583, there arived 
in the towne and Island of Ormus foure Englishmen, which 
came from Aleppo in the countrie of Suria, having sayled 
out of England, and passed through the straightes of 
Gibraltar, to Tripoli a towne and Haven, lying on the sea 
coast of Suria, where all the shippes discharge their mar- 
chandises, and from thence are caryed by land unto Aleppo, 

1 September. See Newberie and Fitch's letters. 


which is nyne dayes iourney. In Aleppo there are resident 
marchants of all Nations, as Italians, Frenchemen, 
Englishmen, Armenians, Turkes, & Mores, everie man 
having his Religion apart, paying tribute unto the great 
Turke. In that towne there is great trafficke, for that from 
thence, everie yeare there travelleth two Caffylen, 1 that is, 
companies of people and Camelles, which travell unto 
India, Persia, Arabia, and all the countries bordering on 
the same, and deale in all sorts of marchandise, both to 
and from those Countries, as I in an other place have 
alreadie declared. Three of the said Englishmen afore- 
saide were sent by the Companie of Englishmen, in Aleppo, 
to see if in Ormus they might keepe any Factors, and so 
trafficke in that place, like as also the Italians doe, that is 
to say, the Venetians, which in Ormus, Goa and Malacca 
have their Factors, and trafficke there, as well for stones and 
pearles, as for other wares and spices of those countries, 
which are caryed over land into Venice. One of these 
Englishmen had beene once before in Ormus, and there had 
taken good information of the trade, and upon his advise 
the other were come thether, bringing great store of mar- 
chandises with them, as Clothes, Saffron, all kindes of 
glasses, knives, and such like stuffe, to conclude, all kinde 
of small wares that may be devised. And although those 
wares amounted unto great summes of money, notwith- 
standing it was but onlie a shadow or colour, thereby to give 
no occasion to be mistrusted : for that their principall 
intent was to buy great quantities of precious Stones, as 
Diamantes, Pearles, Rubies, &c., to the which ende they 
brought with them a great summe of money and Gold, and 
that verie secretly [not to be decyved or robbed thereof], 
or to runne into anie danger for the same. They being 
thus in Ormus, hyred a Shop, and began to sell their 
wares : which the Italians perceyving, whose Factors con- 

1 Caravans. 


tinue there (as I sayd before) and fearing that those English- 
men, finding good vent for their commodities in that place 
wold be resident therein, and so daylie increase, which 
would be no small losse and hinderance unto them, did 
presently invent all the subtile meanes they could, to hinder 
them : and to that end they went unto the Captaine of 
Ormus, as then called Don Gonsalo de Meneses, telling 
him that there were certaine Englishmen come unto Ormus, 
that were sent only to spy the Country, and said further, 
that they were Heretickes : and therefore they sayd it was 
convenient they should not be suffered to depart, without 
beeing examined, and punished to the example of others. 

" The Captaine being a friend unto the Englishmen, by 
reason that one of them which had bene there before, had 
given him certaine presents, would not be perswaded to 
trouble them, but shipped them with all their wares in a 
Shippe that was to sayle for Goa, and sent them to the 
Viceroy, that he might examine and trye them, as hee 
thought good : where when they were aryved, they were 
cast into prison, and first examined whether they were good 
Christians : and because they could speake but bad 
Portugale, onlie two of them spake good Dutche, as having 
bene certaine yeares in the lowe Countries, and there 
traniqued, there was a Dutch lesuite borne in the towne of 
Brigges in Flaunders, 1 that had bin resident in the Indies 
for the space of thirty yeares, sent unto them, to examine 
them : wherein they had behaved themselves so wel, that 
they were holden for good and Catholick Romish Christians : 
yet still suspected, because they were strangers, specially 
Englishmen. The lesuites stil told them that they shuld 
be sent prisoners into Portingal, wishing them to become 
lesuites, promising them thereby to defend them from all 

1 Bruges. Fitch, it will be observed, calls this man " Padre 
Marco," and Newberie " Padre Marke." It is curious to com- 
pare their statements regarding him with that of Linschoten. 


trouble : the cause why they pers waded them in that earnest 
manner was, for that the Dutch lesuite had secretlie bene 
Advertised of great summes of money which they had about 
them, and sought to get the same into their fingers, for that 
the first vowe and promise (of) their order, is, to procure the 
welfare of their said order, by what means soever it be, but 
although the Englishmen denyed them, and refused the 
order, saying, that they were unfit for such places, neverthe- 
lesse they proceed so farre that one of them, being a painter, 
(that came with the other three for company to see the 
countries, and to seeke his fortune, and was not sent 
thether by the English marchants) partly for feare, and 
partlie for want of meanes, promised them to become a 
lesuite : and although they knew he was not any of those 
that had the treasure, yet because he was a Painter, whereof 
they are but few in India, and that they had great need of 
him to paint their church, which otherwise would cost them 
great charges, to bring one from Portingal, they were glad, 
hoping in time to get the rest of them with all their money : 
so yt. to conclude, they made this Painter a lesuite, where 
he continued certain daies giving him good store of worke 
to doe, and entertayning him with all the favour and friend- 
ship they could devise, and all to win the rest, to be a pray 
for them ; but the other three continued still in prison, being 
in great feare, because they understood no man that came 
to them, nor anie man almost knew what they said : till in 
the end it was told them that certaine Dutch men dwelt in 
the Archbishops house, & counsell given them to send unto 
them, whereat they much reioiced, and sent to me and an 
other Dutch man, 1 desiring us once to come and speake 
with them, which we presentlie did, and they with teares in 
their eyes made complaint unto us of their hard usage, from 
point to point (as it is said before) desiring us, if we might 

1 Bernard Burcherts, of Hamburg, who was a member of the 
archbishop's suite. Linschoten says he returned home in 1585. 


to helpe them, that they might be set at liberty upon 
Sureties, being readie to indure what Justice should ordaine 
for them, saying that if it were found contrarie, and that 
they were other then travelling marchants, and sought to 
find out [further] benefite by their wares, they would be 
content to be punished. 

" With that wee departed from them promising them to 
do our best : and in the ende we obtained so much of the 
Archbishoppe, that he went unto the Vice-roy to delyver 
our petition, and perswaded him so well, that hee was 
content to set them at libertie and that their goods shuld be 
delivered unto them again, upon condition they should put 
in sureties for 2000. Pardawes, not to depart the countrie 
before other order should bee taken with them. Therupon 
they presently found a Citizen of the towne, yt. was their 
suretie for 2000. Pardawes, where they paide him in hand 
1300. Pardawes, and because they say they had no more 
ready monie, he gave them credite, seeing what store of 
marchandise they had, whereby at all times if neede were, 
hee might bee satisfied : and by that meanes they were 
delivered out of prison, and hyred a house, and began to 
set open shoppe : So that they uttered much ware, and were 
presently well knowne because they alwaies respected 
Gentlemen, specially such as brought x their wares, shewing 
great curtesie and honor unto them, whereby they wonne 
much credite, and were beloved of all men, so that everie 
man favoured them, and was willing to doe them pleasure. 
To us they shewed great friendship, for whose sake, the 
Archbishop favoured them much, and shewed them verie 
good countenance, which they knew wel how to increase, 
by offering him many presents, although hee would not 
receive them, neither would ever take gift or present at any 
mans hands. Likewise they behaved themselves verie 
Catholikely and devoute, everie day hearing Masse with 

1 Bought. 


Beades in their hands, so that they fel into so great favour, 
that no man caried an evill eye, no nor an evill thought 
towards them. Which liked not the lesuites, because it 
hindered them from that they hoped for, so that they ceased 
not still by this Dutch lesuite to put them in feare, that 
they should bee sent into Portingall to the King, counselling 
them to yeeld them selves into their Cloyster, which if they 
did, he said they would defend them from all saying 
further, that he counselled them therein as friend, and one 
that knew for certaine that it was determined by the 
Viceroyes privie Counsell : which to effect he saide they 
stayed but for shipping that should sayle for Portingall, 
with divers other perswasions, to put them in some feare, & 
so to effect their purpose. 

" The English men durst not say any thing to them, but 
answered, that as yet they would stay a while, and consider 
thereof, thereby putting the lesuites in good comfort, as 
one among them, being the principal of them (called John 
Nuberye) complained unto me often times, saying hee 
knew not which way he might be rid of those troubles : but 
in the ende they determined with themselves, to depart 
from thence, and secretly by means of contrarie friends, 
they imployed their money in precious stones, which the 
better to effect, one of them was a Jeweller, 1 and for the 
same purpose came with them. Which being concluded 
among them, they durst not make knowne to any man, 
neither did they credite us so much, although they tolde us 
all whatsoever they knew. But on a Whitsunday they went 
abroad to sport themselves about three miles from Goa, in 
the mouth of the ryver in a countrie called Bardes, having 
with them good store of meate and drinke. And because 
they should not be suspected, they left their house and shop, 

1 Mr. Tiele gives the original Dutch, Steen-slyper (polisher 
of precious stones). 


with some wares therein unsolde, in custodie of a Dutch 
Boy, by us provided for them, that looked unto it. This 
Boye was in the house not knowing their intent, and being 
in Bardes, they had with them a Patamar, 1 which is one of 
the Indian postes, which in winter times caryeth letters 
from one place to the other, whom they had hyred to guide 
them : & because that betweene Bardes and the Firm land 
there is but a little ryver, halfe drie, they passed over it on 
foote, and so travelled by land, being never heard of againe : 
but it is thought they arrived in Aleppo, as some say, but 
they knew not certainely. Their greatest hope was, that 
John Newbery could speake the Arabian tongue, which is 
used in al those countries, or at the least understoode, for 
it is very common in all places there abouts, as French with 

" Newes being come to Goa, there was a great stirre and 
murmuring among the people, and we much wondered at 
it : for many were of opinion, that wee had given them 
counsel so to doe, and presently their suertie seased upon 
the goods remaining, which might amount unto above 200. 
Pardawes, and with that and the money he had received of 
the English men, he went unto the Viceroye, and delivered 
it unto him, which the Viceroy having received, forgave 
him the rest. This flight of the English men grieved the 
lesuites most, because they had lost such a pray, which 
they made sure account of, whereupon the Dutch lesuite 
came to us to aske us if we knew thereof, saying, that if he 
had suspected so much, he would have dealt otherwise, for 
that he said, hee once had in his hands of theirs a bagge 
wherein was fortie thousand Veneseanders (each Venese- 
ander being two Pardawes) which was when they were in 

1 " Patamar, or Pattimar, in modern usage is a kind of 
vessel on the west coast. But in all the writers of the sixteenth 
and seventeenth centuries it is a foot-runner or courier, from 
Konkani, pathmar^ a courier" (Yule). 


prison. 1 And that they had alwayes put him in comfort, to 
accomplish his desire, upon the which promise hee gave 
them their money againe, which otherwise they shoulde not 
so lightly have come by, or peradventure never, as hee 
openly said : and in the ende he called them hereticks, and 
spies, with a thousand other rayling speeches, which he 
uttered against them. 

"The Englishman that was become a lesuite, hearing 
that his companions were gone, and perceiving that the 
lesuites shewed him not so great favour, as they did at the 
first, repented himselfe, and seeing he had not as then 
made any solemne promise, & being counselled to leave the 
house [& told] that he could not want a living in the towne, 
as also that the lesuites could not keepe him there without 
he were willing to stay, for they could not accuse him of any 

1 Original Dutch, " Venetseanders," i.e., ducats of Venice 
(Tiele). " The partab (pratap) was a gold coin found current 
in India, and adopted by the Portuguese ; but the latter coined 
silver pardaos of much smaller value, and the determination of 
a pardao at different periods is difficult. If the Venetseander 
was a zecchin, those here in question must have been gold 
pardaos, which were worth half a gold pagoda " (Yule). 

Linschoten (vol. i.) devotes a chapter to "money, weight, 
and measure of India, and Goa." In an editorial footnote 
Dr. Burnell calls attention to the fact that in Hakluyt's 
translation of Caesar Frederick a pagoda is said to be a gold 
coin, worth 6s. 8d. sterling (at Goa) ; while the original Italian 
puts a pagoda at eight lira "of our money" (i.e., Venetian). 
By the above calculation a venetseander was equal in value 
to a gold pagoda, which was worth 6s. 8d. sterling at that 
time. Therefore the worthy Dutch Jesuit told his countrymen, 
in effect, that the English travellers, notwithstanding their 
untoward experiences, were still in possession of a "bagge" 
containing cash equivalent in those days to over 1 3,000, 
or about ^78,000 in these times ! John Eldred, a fellow 
traveller for part of the journey, tells a very different story 
(see p. 218). 


thing : he told them flatly, that he had no desire to stay 
within the Cloyster, and although they used all the meanes 
they could to keepe him there, yet hee would not stay, but 
hyred a house without the Cloyster, and opened shop, 
where he had good store of worke, and in the end married 
a Mesticos daughter of the towne, so that hee made his 
account, to stay there while he lived. By this Englishman 
I was instructed of al the waies, trades, and viages of the 
countrie, betweene Aleppo and Ormus, and of all the 
ordinances and common customes, which they usually hold 
during their Viage over land, as also of the places and 
townes wher they passed. And since those Englishmens 
departures from Goa, there never arrived any strangers 
either English or others by land in the sayde countries, 
but onely Italyans which day lye traffique over land, and 
use continuall trade going and comming that way." 

The appended letters are given here 

Ne^berietstory becaus e they deal chiefly with the arrest 

and imprisonment The first two from 

Ormuz are addressed to John Eldred and William 

Shals (or Shales) at Bassorah : 

"Right welbeloued and my assured good friends, I 
heartily comend me vnto you, hoping of your good healths, 
&c. To certifie you of my voiage, after I departed fro you, 
time wil not permit : but the 4 of this present we arriued 
here, & the 10 day I with the rest were committed to 
prison, and about the middle of the next moneth, the 
Captaine wil send vs all in his ship for Goa. The cause 
why we are taken, as they say, is, for that I brought letters 
from Don Antonio. 1 But the trueth is, Michael Stropene, 

1 The Portuguese Pretender, and in some sort the protege of 


was the onely cause, vpon letters that his brother wrote him 
from Aleppo. God knoweth how we shall be delt withall 
in Goa, and therefore if you can procure our masters to 
send the king of Spaine his letters for our releasement, you 
should doe vs great good : for they cannot with iustice put 
vs to death. It may be that they will cut our throtes, or 
keepe vs long in prison : Gods will be done. All those 
commodities that I brought hither, had beene very well 
sold, if this trouble had not chanced. You shall do well 
to send with all speed a messenger by land from Balsara to 
Aleppo, for to certifie of this mischance, although it cost 
thirtie or forty crownes, for that we may be the sooner 
released, and I shalbe the better able to recouer this againe 
which is now like to be lost : I pray you make my hearty 
commendations, &c. From out of the prison in Ormuz, 
this 21 of September, 1583." 

" The barke of the lewes is arriued here two daies past, 
by whom I know you did write, but your letters are not 
like to come to my handes. This bringer hath shewed me 
here very great courtesie, wherefore I pray you shew him 
what fauor you may. About the middle of the next moneth 
I thinke we shall depart from hence, God be our guide. I 
thinke Andrew will goe by land to Aleppo, wherein I pray 
you further him what you may : but if he should not goe, 
then I pray you dispatch away a messenger with as much 
speede as possible you may. I can say no more, but do 
for me as you would I should do for you in the like cause, 
and so with my very hearty commendations, &c. From 
out of the prison in Ormuz, this 24 day of September, 1583." 

The next letter, dated a few days 
Hisietterto earlier than that of Master Fitch's (see 

Leonard Poore 

pp. 65-6), but doubtless despatched at 
the same time, is possessed of pathetic interest from 


the fact that it appears to be the last communica- 
tion from this enterprising traveller received in this 
country : 

" My last I sent you was from Ormuz, whereby I certified 
you what had happened there vnto me, and the rest of my 
company, which was, that foure dayes after our arriuall 
there, we were all committed to prison, except one Italian 
which came with me from Aleppo, whom the Captaine 
neuer examined, onely demaunded what countryman he 
was, but I make account Michael Stropene, who accused 
vs, had informed the Captaine of him. The first day 
we arriued there, this Stropene accused vs that we were 
spies sent from Don Antonio, besides diuers other lies ; 
notwithstanding if we had beene of any other countrey then 
of England, we might freely haue traded with them. 1 And 
although we be Englishmen, I know no reason to the con- 
trary, but that we may trade hither and thither as well as 
other nations, for all nations doe, and may come freely to 
Ormuz, as Frenchmen, Flemmings, Almains, Hungarians, 
Italians, Greekes, Armenians, Nazaranies, Turkes and 
Moores, lewes & Gentiles, Persians, Moscouites, and there 
is no nation that they seeke for to trouble, except ours : 
wherefore it were contrary to all iustice and reason that 
they should suffer all nations to trade with them, and to 
forbid vs. But now I haue as great libertie as any other 
nation, except it be to go out of the countrey, which thing 
as yet I desire not. But I thinke hereafter, and before it 
be long, if I shall be desirous to go from hence, that they 
wil not deny me licence. Before we might be suffered to 
come out of prison, I was forced to put in suerties for 2000 
pardaus, not to depart from hence without licence of the 
viceroy : otherwise except this, we haue as much libertie as 

1 A suggestive passage which shows that Newberie, at least, 
realised the political dangers of the journey. 


any other nation, for I haue our goods againe, & haue 
taken an house in the chiefest streete in the towne, called 
the Rue drette, where we sell our goods. 

"There were two causes which moued the captaine of 
Ormus to imprison vs, & afterwards to send vs hither. 
The first was, because Michael Stropene had accused vs of 
many matters, which were most false. And the second 
was for that M. Drake at his being at Maluco, caused two 
pieces of his ordinance to be shot at a gallion of the kings 
of Portugall, as they say. But of these things I did not 
know at Ormus : and in the ship that we were sent in came 
the chiefest iustice in Ormus, who was called Aueador 
generall of that place, he had beene there three yeeres, so 
that now his time was expired : which Aueador is a great 
friend of the captaine of Ormus, who, certain days after our 
comming from thence, sent for mee into his chamber, and 
there beganne to demaund of me many things, to the which 
I answered : and amongst the rest, he said, that Master 
Drake was sent out of England with many ships, and came 
to Maluco, and there laded cloues, and finding a gallion 
there of the kings of Portugall, hee caused two pieces of his 
greatest ordinance to be shot at the same : and so per- 
ceiuing that this did greatly grieue them, I asked, if they 
would be reuenged of me for that which M. Drake had 
done : To the which he answered, No : although his 
meaning was to the contrary. 

" He said moreouer, that the cause why the captaine of 
Ormus did send me for Goa, was, for that the Viceroy 
would vnderstand of mee, what newes there was of Don 
Antonio, and whether he were in England, yea or no, and 
that it might be all for the best that I was sent hither, the 
which I trust in God wil so fall out, although contrary to 
his expectation : for had it not pleased God to put into the 
minds of the archbishop and other two Padres or Jesuits of 
S. Pauls colledge to stand our friends, we might haue rotted 


in prison. The archbishop is a very good man, who hath 
two yong men to his seruantes, the one of them was borne 
at Hamborough, and is called Bernard Borgers : and the 
other was borne at Enchuysen, whose name is lohn Linscot, 
who did vs great pleasure : for by them the archbishop was 
many times put in minde of vs. 1 And the two good fathers 
of S. Paul, who trauelled very much for us, the one of them 
is called Padre Marke, who was borne in Bruges in Flanders, 
and the other was borne in Wilshire in England, and is 
called Padre Thomas Steuens. 

"Also I chanced to finde here a young man, who was" 
borne in Antwerpe, but the most part of his bringing vp 
hath beene in London, his name is Francis de Rea, and 
with him it was my hap to be acquainted in Aleppo, who 
also hath done me great pleasure here. 

" In the prison at Ormus we remained many dayes, also 
we lay a long time at sea comming hither, and forthwithe 
at our arriuall here were carried to prison, and the next day 
after were sent for before the Aueador, who is the chiefest 
iustice, to be examined : and when we were examined, he 
presently sent vs backe againe to prison. 

"And after our being here in prison 13 daies, lames 
Storie went into the monastery of S. Paul, where he 
remaineth, and is made one of the company, which life 
he liketh very well. 

"And vpon S. Thomas day (which was 22 dayes after 
our arriuall here) I came out of prison, and the next day 
after came out Ralph Fitch and William Bets. 2 

" If these troubles had not chanced, I had beene in 
possibility to haue made as good a voyage as euer any man 
made with so much money. Many of our things I haue 
solde very well, both here and at Ormus in prison, notwith- 
standing the captaine willed me (if I would) to sell what 

1 Burcheits and Linschoten. 

- No doubt William Leedes is referred to. 


I could before we imbarked : & so with officers I went 
diuers times out of the castle in the morning, and solde 
things, and at night returned againe to the prison, and all 
things that I solde they did write, and at our imbarking 
from thence, the captain gaue order that I should deliuer 
all my mony with the goods into the hands of the scriuano, 
or purser of the ship, which I did, and the scriuano made a 
remembrance, which he left there with the captaine, that 
myselfe and the rest with money & goods he should 
deliuer into the hands of the Aueador generall of India : 
but at our arriuall here, the Aueador would neither meddle 
with goods nor money, for that he could not proue any- 
thing against vs : wherefore the goods remained in the ship 
9 or 10 daies after our arriuall, and then, for that the ship 
was to saile from thence, the scriuano sent the goods on 
shore, and here they remained a day and a night, and no 
body to receiue them. In the end they suffered this 
bringer to receiue them, who came with me from Ormus, 
and put them into an house which he had hired for me, 
where they remained foure or flue daies. But afterward when 
they should deliuer the money, it was concluded by the 
iustice, that both the money and goods should be deliuered 
into the positors hands, where they remained fourteene 
dayes after my comming out of prison. At my being in 
Aleppo, I bought a fountaine of siluer and gilt, sixe kniues, 
sixe spoones, and one forke trimmed with corall for flue and 
twentie chekins, which the captaine of Ormus did take, and 
payed for the same twentie pardaos, which is one hundred 
larines, and was worth there or here one hundred chekins. 
Also he had fiue emrauds set in golde, which were woorth 
flue hundred or sixe hundred crownes, and payed for the 
same an hundred pardaos. Also he had nineteene and a 
halfe pikes of cloth, which cost in London twentie shillings 
the pike, and was worth 9 or 10 crownes the pike, and he 
payed for the same twelue larines a pike. Also he had two 


pieces of greene Kersies, which were worth foure and 
twentie pardaos the piece, and payd for them sixteene 
pardaos a piece : besides diuers other trifles, that the 
officers and others had in the like order, and some for nothing 
at all. But the cause of all this was Michael Stropene, 
which came to Ormus not woorth a penie, and now hath 
thirtie or fortie thousand crownes, and he grieueth that 
any other stranger should trade thither but himselfe. But 
that shall not skill, for I trust in God to goe both 
thither and hither, and to buy and sell as freely as he 
or any other. Here is very great good to be done in diuers 
of our commodities, and in like manner there is great profite 
to be made with commodities of this countrey, to be carried 
to Aleppo. 

" It were long for me to write, and tedious for you to read 
of all things that haue passed since my parting from you. 
But of all the troubles that haue chanced since mine 
arriuall in Ormus, this bringer is able to certifie you. I 
mind to stay here : wherefore if you will write vnto me, you 
may send your letters to some friend at Lisbone, & fro 
thence by the ships they may be conueyed hither. Let the 
direction of your letters be either in Portuguise or Spanish, 
whereby they may come the better to my hands. From 
Goa this 20 day of Januarie, 1584." 

We have already seen what were 
Sth oe h n e tu^". Master Fitch's impressions of " Golden 
Goa," that gate to the opulent and 
mysterious East the fame of which had already 
spread over Europe ; possibly the nature of his 
reception somewhat damped the ardour of his 
description. Caesar Frederick, who visited Goa in 
1567, and again in 1570 when it was besieged by the 
King of Bijapur, states that there was great traffic 



but that the island was fairer than the city, being full 
of goodly gardens. In Linschoten's interesting 
work, however, we find probably the most complete 
picture of this great emporium in the heyday of its 
prosperity. Goa he describes as well built, with 
houses and streets interspersed with gardens and 
orchards, but of the widespread immorality of the 
place he tells us more than enough. He gives an 
amusing account of the punctiliousness of the Portu- 
guese residents, many of whom lived in considerable 
" style." On the other hand the soldiery, a term 
which appears to have included all the single men of 
little or no means or without civil employment, fared 
very poorly, except on occasions when volunteers 
were called up for an expedition. The daily life of 
Goa was stimulated by a morning market, or fair, to 
which all classes and kindreds flocked, except on 
holy days, which were observed with considerable 
pomp. He adds a statement which is of no little 
importance coming as it does from a member of the 
Archbishop's household, to the effect that the laws 
observed were those of Portugal and that the people 
of all nations dwelling there Indians, Moors, Jews, 
Armenians, &c. were allowed to practise their own 
religions, the only prohibitions being in regard to 
suttee and similar rites. The fact that one of the 
charges upon which the Englishmen had been 
detained was that they were " Heretickes," does not 
detract from the value of his general assertion of 
religious freedom. Protestantism, in the eyes of all 
Spanish subjects at least, means something more than 
a difference in religious faith. 


A very brief sketch of the rise and de- 
Portuguese development of Portuguese power in 

the East up to .this time will not be 
out of place here, some notes on their operations 
in the Further East being reserved for a later 
chapter. Bartholomew Dias, sailing at the command 
of John II. of Portugal, 1486, was the first navigator 
to double the Cape of Good Hope, reaching Algoa 
Bay. He was followed by Vasco de Gama who, 
anchoring his three ships off Calicut, 1498, proved to 
be the pioneer of Portuguese power in India. The 
new arrivals first opened negotiations with the 
Zamorin of Calicut, the suzerain of the various 
kings or rajas on the Malabar coast, but in the 
beginning discovered that they had formidable 
rivals in the Muhammadan Arabs, or Moors as they 
called them. These traders had long enjoyed the 
Indian monopoly, sending their goods either to the 
Persian Gulf or, via Suez and Alexandria, to the 
Mediterranean. But by common consent the great 
Albuquerque, governor and captain-general, 1509-15, 
was the real founder of the Portuguese dominion in 
the East. Whatever may now be thought of his 
methods, his hectoring and his savagery, he followed 
a consistent policy. He broke down the Moorish 
monopoly, and actually threatened the Turkish 
Sultan in his own dominions. 1 Establishing his 

1 Prof. Stephens (q.v.} repeats the extraordinary story that 
among the plans contemplated by Albuquerque for the de- 
struction of Muhammadan rivalry was one for the diversion 
of the course of the Nile, through Abyssinia to the Red Sea, in 
order to ruin Egypt ; while another was to seize the body of 


capital in the island of Goa, which long flourished as 
a monument to his genius, his personal conquests 
extended from Ormuz to Malacca. At the time of 
his death, which took place on the bar of Goa in 
1515, peace, so called, was universal from Ormuz to 
Ceylon ; and from Cape Comorin eastward the King 
of Portugal was on terms of friendship with the 
kings of Pegu, Bengal, Pedir, Siam, Pacem, Java and 
China, the King of Maluco and the Gores. 1 With- 
out attempting even a chronological summary of 
events in India between the year of Albuquerque's 
death and the period under notice, it is interesting to 
quote what may be described as the official view, and 
thus to trace the commencement of decay. Faria y 
Sousa, the well-known Portuguese poet and historian 
(1590-1649), who was sometime secretary to the 
Marquis of Castel Rodrigo, ambassador at Rome, 
thus signalises the preferment of Lopo Soarez de 
Albegaria, the next governor : " Till this time the 
Gentlemen had followed the Dictates of true Honor, 
esteeming their Arms the greatest Riches ; from 
this time forwards they so wholly gave up them- 
selves to trading, that those who had been Captains 
became Merchants, so that what had been Command 
became a Shame, Honor was a Scandal, and Repu- 
tation a Reproach." During the same Viceroyalty 

1 Mr. F. C. Danvers in his "Portuguese in India" (W. H. 
Allen & Co., 1894), quoted above, gives an interesting account 
of the last days of Albuquerque and of his work. He sum- 
marises the results of his labours in India from the Viceroy's 
famous " Commentaries," which have been edited for the 
Hakluyt Society by Mr. Walter de Gray Birch. 


(1517) the chronicler records the arrival of Alcacova 
(or Alcaceva) as surveyor of the royal revenues, and 
his return in disgust to Portugal. He adds, " Hence 
began the hearing Complaints against the Governors 
and Commanders of India, and hence it was that 
many took more care to heap Riches than Honor, 
knowing them to be a protection against all 
Crimes." z Linschoten himself at a later date speaks 
pretty plainly on the evils of the government of the 
Viceroys : " There is not one of them," he says, 
" that esteemeth the profit of the commonwealth, or 
the furtherance of the king's service, but rather their 
own particular commodities," and he adds that the 
same rotten system existed in all the stations in 

Still, although the principal figure had departed, 
the great work of Portuguese exploitation went on. 
" Dom Francisco Mascarenhas, Count of Santa 
Cruz," who received our travellers in the manner 
described in this volume, " was the first Viceroy sent 
to India after the subjugation of the kingdom of 
Portugal by the King of Spain. He had already 
had considerable experience in India, where he had 
greatly distinguished himself by the gallant defence 
of the city of Chaul with a few men, and no wall, 
against the power of Nizamaluco, who had besieged 
it with 150,000 men. 2 Dom Francisco was accom- 

1 "Portuguese Asia," Stevens's translation, 1695, vol. ii., 
pp. 210, 216. 

2 Nizamaluco appears to have been derived by the earlier 
voyagers from the name Nizam-al-Mulk (see note to Lin- 
schoten, vol. i. p. 1 68). 


panied by a fleet of five ships, and on arrival at Goa 
on the 1 6th of September, 1581, he found all India had 
already proclaimed King Philip, in accordance with 
the instructions that had previously been sent to the 
Governor, Fernao Telles de Menezes." * He was 
succeeded by Dom Duarte de Menezes, who left 
Lisbon in the spring of 1584. During this vice- 
royalty, which extended to 1588, when Menezes died, 
important changes were attempted in the methods of 
Indian trade. In order to raise funds to prosecute 
his designs in the Netherlands, Philip in 1587 handed 
over the monopoly to the " Companha Portugueza 
das Indias Orientas," but such was the ferment 
caused at Goa by this transaction that the Company 
soon ceased to exist. The next viceroy was Mathias 
de Albuquerque, who returned from Portugal in 1591, 
in which year Fitch reached home. 

As already stated, the influence of the Portuguese, 
and also their trading stations, extended to other 
regions further east, but a characteristic of their 
enterprise in these parts appears in the fact that the 
adventurers rarely established themselves beyond the 
coast line. Perhaps the most conspicuous exception 
to this rule is presented in the district of St. Thome, 
Southern India. Here the Portuguese discovered a 
branch of the Christian Church actually established, 
the question as to who founded it being still a matter 
of discussion, the honour being variously attributed 
to the apostles SS. Thomas and Bartholomew and 
others. Sir W. Hunter (" Gazetteer," vol. vi. ch. xi.) 
deals with this fascinating subject, and points out 
1 Danvers, vol. ii. p. 40. 


that " from their first clear emergence into history " 
the Christians of Southern India belonged to the 
Syrian or Nestorian rite. Mr. Milne Rae's " Syrian 
Church in India" (1892) is a further valuable con- 
tribution, and the Rev. Alex. D'Orsay, in his 
curiously interesting work, " Portuguese Discoveries, 
Dependencies, and Missions " (1893), gives a detailed 
account of the early relations of the Portuguese with 
the Christians they found in this corner of the 
peninsula. Prof. Stephens dates the decline of 
Portuguese political influence from the death of the 
Viceroy Dom Joao de Castro at Goa in the arms of 
his friend St. Francis Xavier in 1548. He adds: 
" But at the time when the political interest in the 
career of the Portuguese in Asia diminishes, the 
religious interest increases. . . . These (missionaries) 
were the men who made their way into the interior 
of India, and who penetrated the farthest East." 
The Inquisition was established at Goa in 1560, but 
it was not till the seventeenth century that the peri- 
odical auto-da-fe was commenced. It is of interest 
to note that the doctrines and ritual of the Nesto- 
rians were condemned by the Synod of Diamper 
(Udayampura) in 1599. 



AT the time when Master Ralph Fitch and his 
companions arrived on the shores of India the 
Moghul Empire was at its zenith. Akbar, son of 
Humayun and grandson of Baber, the founder of 
the dynasty, succeeded his father in 1556, being then 
but fourteen years of age. He came into a heritage 
of anarchy, and under the tutelage of his guardian, 
Bairam Khan, the first years of his reign were spent 
in a desperate struggle with the Afghan power in 
Hindustan. At the age of eighteen Akbar declared 
himself Padishah, and set to work systematically to 
recover such fortresses as remained in the hands of 
the Afghans, and to subdue the various sultans who 
ruled over the independent kingdoms which had been 
carved out of the ruins of the old Delhi Empire. 
Conquest, rebellion, and reconquest followed till the 
Great Moghul's dominions extended from Guzerat 
on the west to Bengal on the east, and included 
Kabul and Kashmir on the north, and the northern 
half of the Dekhan in the south. 



But besides being a warrior from his 
youth up, Akbar was a statesman of the 
highest rank. It has been suggested 
that he soon discovered how much the Muhammadan 
religion had lost its force as a power to bind the 
empire together. Imbued with the religious tolera- 
tion of his ancestor Chenghiz Khan, he decided upon 
the revolutionary policy of equality of race and 
religion as the only possible means of consolidation. 
With this object in view, we find him, for example, 
winning over the warlike princes of Rajputana, partly 
by force, partly by diplomatic marriages and other 
concessions, till at last he had succeeded in establish- 
ing two aristocracies and two armies one Moghul 
and Mussulman, the other Rajput and Hindu, either 
of which was ready to fight rebellious partisans of 
the opposite race and creed. During all this period 
Akbar was professedly a Muhammadan, but his 
wives were allowed to introduce idols into the zenana 
and to listen to the Brahmin priests. Encouraged 
by a young and ambitious scholar, one Abul Fazl, 
whose singular history rise, prosperity, and death 
breathes the true spirit of Eastern legend, the 
emperor resolved that he alone should be considered 
the authority in all religious matters. Probably this 
idea found its root in the fact that all pious Muham- 
madans were looking for the appearance of a new 
prophet A.D. 1591-2, being a thousand years from the 
Hejira. At any rate Akbar broke the power of the 
ulemas and welcomed the teachers of other religions 
to his court, inviting priests from Goa, and permit- 
ting the establishment of a Roman Catholic church 


3.t Agra. In view of these magnanimous impulses, 
amid an ocean of fanaticism and exotic religions, it 
is pitiable to record the fact that such a potentate, 
still under the influence of Abul Fazl, decided to 
found a new religious system called the Divine Faith, 
and permitted himself to be worshipped as a type 
of royalty emanating from God. But his ideas of 
equality were not limited to these matters, much as 
they moved the masses. Akbar sought to better 
his subjects by various methods of reform ; he per- 
mitted the use of wine, Muhammadanism notwith- 
standing, but punished intoxication ; he endeavoured 
to put an end to suttee ; he raised the age of 
marriage, and tried to check polygamy ; he intro- 
duced a land settlement. His latter years were 
marred by the rebellion of his son Selim, afterwards 
known as Jehangir, the outbreak, which involved the 
assassination of Abul Fazl, being ostensibly a Mu- 
hammadan rising against Akbar's apostasy. After 
its suppression the emperor became a changed man 
and returned to the observances of the faith. He died 
in 1605, aged sixty-four years, not without suspicion 
that he had been poisoned at the instigation of his 
son, who reigned in his stead. 1 

1 The late Mr. J. Talboys Wheeler's "Short History of 
India" (Macmillan, 1880). The Rev. Francis Goldie, S.J., in 
his " First Christian Mission to the Great Mogul " (Dublin, 
1897), states that the Akbar in 1579 applied to the Viceroy, the 
Archbishop of Goa, and the Provincial of the Jesuits for " two 
learned Fathers and the books of the Law," and that the choice 
fell upon Fathers Acquaviva and Anthony Montserrat, with 
Father Henriquez, a Muhammadan convert of Ormuz, as inter- 
preter ; they started from Surat in January, 1580. Seven years 


Fitch and his companions could not 
have penetrated to the heart of India at 
a more opportune time, for by 15855 
when the Great Moghul had been some thirty years 
on the throne, the central power had been more or 
less firmly established. There is something striking 
in the reflection that it was during the reign of 
perhaps the most liberal and intellectually brilliant 
personality ever seen on the throne of Hindustan, 
and at a period of our own history which all English- 
men are proud to recall, that our first embassy as 
represented by Fitch and his fellow travellers, armed 
with the Queen's letter to the chief potentate in all 
India should have reached its destination. Elizabeth 
died in 1603 an d Akbar in 1605, but before either of 
these dates the systematic attempt to open up trade 
by the establishment of the East India Company 
had been launched. Further, at the end of the 
sixteenth century, history tells us, Akbar, in a spirit 
not the less magnanimous because it was crude, was 
trying to rule his empire on principles founded on the 
welfare of the vast aggregate of his peoples ; at the 
end of the nineteenth century the Queen-Empress of 
England and India, in more enlightened because 
more modern fashion, is engaged in the same task, 
but over a still wider area, in the same land. 

earlier (1573), the Viceroy, Antony Moronha, had sent Antony 
Cabral to Akbar to obtain a treaty for the security of Daman, 
consequent upon the Emperor's successes in Guzerat. It is 
further stated, adds Hunter, that one of Akbar's wives was a 
Christian, and that he ordered his son Murad, when a child, to 
take " lessons " in Christianity. 


Unfortunately we have no details of the reception 
accorded by Akbar to his English visitors in the 
narrative which is here continued. Probably Fitch, 
even after his return to England, still hoped that 
something would be heard of Newberie, whose 
privilege and duty it was, as leader of the expedi- 
tion, to report to the highest authority in the land on 
the reception of the Queen's letter. Still he tells us 
enough to show that he and his associates were well 
' treated and enjoyed perfect liberty. In the endeavour 
to trace each stage of the journey through India, 
the author again acknowledges with gratitude the 
invaluable assistance he has obtained from Sir W. 
Hunter's unparalleled "Gazetteer" (H.). The line of 
route followed by the travellers after leaving Gol- 
conda is somewhat uncertain ; probably they joined 
various trading caravans and pursued well-defined 
trade routes. We have had one or two glimpses of 
their traffickings en route, and no doubt they adopted 
the methods of the old merchant-venturers and, at 
least, met their current expenses in this manner. 
But after the hurry of the escape their first objective 
was the court of Akbar, at Agra or Fatehpur Sikri. 
In the attempts to identify the places mentioned by 
Fitch under the old names the latitude and longitude 
are given to assist the judgment of the reader : 


" One of the first townes which we 

Bellergan a 

towne. came vnto, is called Bellergan, 1 where 

there is a great market kept of Dia- 
1 Belgaum. 


mants, Rubies, Saphires, and many 
other soft stones. From Bellergan we 

Bisapor. went to Bisapor 1 which is a very great 

towne where the king doeth keepe his 
court. Hee hath many Gentiles in his 
court and they bee great idolaters. 
And they haue their idols standing in 
the Woods, which they call Pagodes. 
Some bee like a Cowe, some like a 
Monkie, some like Buffles, some like 
peacockes, and some like the deuill. 
Here be very many elephants which 
they goe to warre withall. Here they 
haue good store of gold and siluer : 
their houses are of stone very faire and 

Guiconda. high. From hence wee went for Gul- 

conda, the king whereof is called Cutup 
de lashach. 2 Here and in the king- 
dome of Hidalcan, and in the countrey 
of the king of Decan bee the Diamants 
found of the olde water.3 It is a very 

1 Bijapur. 

2 Possibly (as Mr. W. Foster suggests), Muhammad Kuli 
Kutb Shah, who reigned from 1580. Golconda, now a fortress 
and ruined city of the Nizam's dominions, seven miles west of 
Hyderabad. " The diamonds of Golconda have obtained great 
celebrity throughout the world ; but they were merely cut and 
polished here, being generally found at Partial" (H.). 

3 See Linschoten's statement that the " principall intent " of 
the English travellers was to purchase precious stones. It will 
have been noted that Fitch also makes special reference to the 
" round and Orient " pearls of Bahrein island ; but it cannot be 
doubted that far larger motives prompted and sustained the 







faire towne, pleasant, with faire houses 
of bricke and timber, it aboundeth with 
great store of fruites and fresh water. 
Here the men and the women do go 
with a cloth bound round their middles 
without any more apparell. We found 
it here very hote. 

" The winter beginneth here about 
the last of May. In these partes is a 
porte or hauen called Masulipatan, 
which standeth eight dayes iourney 
from hence toward the gulfe of Ben- 
gala, whether come many shippes out 
of India, Pegu, and Sumatra, very 
richly laden with Pepper, spices, and 
other commodities. 1 The countrie is 
very good and fruitful!. From thence 
I went to Seruidore which is a fine 
countrey, and the king is called, the 
king of Bread. The houses here bee 
all thatched and made of lome. Here 
be many Moores and Gentiles, but 
there is small religion among them. 
From thence I went to Bellapore, 2 

1 Masulipatam was the earliest British settlement on the 
Coromandel coast. An agency was established in 1611 byCapt. 
Hippon, who commanded the Globe in the East India Com- 
pany's seventh voyage. In 1632 the English were granted a 
farman by the Muhammadan King of Golconda, which is 
known as the " Golden Firman '' (H.). 

2 Balapur, in the Akola District, Berar, lat. 20 40' N., 
long. 76 49' 15" E. A great fair was formerly held here. The 
Jama Masjid, now a ruin, bears date 1032 A. H. (Ibid.). 


and so to Barrampore, 1 which is in 
the country of Zelabdim Echebar. 
In this place their money is made of 
kind of siluer round and thicke, to 
the value of twentie pence, which is 
very good siluer. It is marueilous 
great and a populous countrey. In 
their winter which is in lune, luly, and 
August, there is no passing in the 
streetes but with horses, the waters 
be so high. The houses are made of 
lome and thatched. Here is great 
store of cotton cloth made, and painted 
clothes of cotton wooll : here groweth 
great store of corne and Rice. We 
strange manages, found mariages great store both in 
townes and villages in many places 
where wee passed, of boyes of eight or 
ten yeeres, and girls of flue or six 
yeeres old. They both do ride vpon 
one horse very trimly decked, and are 
caried through the towne with great 
piping arid playing, and so returne 

1 Burhanpur, a town in the Nimar District, Central Provinces. 
Lat. 21 1 8' 33" N., long. 76 16' 26" E. Founded in 1400 
by Nasir Khan : eleven princes of the Farukhi dynasty of 
Khandesh held Burhanpur till the kingdom was annexed by 
Akbar, which did not take place, however, till 1600. The 
Ain-i-Akbari, which describes the place as a large city, 
says, " In the summer the town is covered with dust, and 
during the rains the streets are full of mud and stone " 


home and eate of a banket made of 
Rice and fruits, and there they daimce 
the most part of the night and so 
make an ende of the marriage. They 
lie not together vntill they be ten 
yeeres old. They say they marry their 
children so yoong, because it is an order 
that when the man dieth, the woman 
must be burned with him : so that if 
the father die, yet they may haue a 
father in lawe to helpe to bring vp the 
children which bee maried : and also that 
they will not leaue their sonnes without 
wiues, nor their daughters without 
husbands. From thence we went to 
Mandoway a very Mandoway,which is a very strong towne. 
It was besieged twelue yeeres by Ze- 
labdim Echebar before hee could winne 
it. It standeth vpon a very great 
high rocke as the most part of their 
castles doe, and was of a very great 
circuite. 1 From hence wee went to 

1 Mandoway, Mandogarh (Mandu), which would lie on the 
route followed, assumedly, by the three travellers, is now 
a deserted town in Dhar State, Central India, but was 
formerly the capital of the Muhammadan kingdom of Malwa. 
Lat. 22 21' N., long. 75 26' E., and thirty miles S.W. 
from Mhow. The city, 1,944 ft. above sea-level, occupies 
eight miles of ground, extending along the crest of the 
Vindhyas ; and is separated from the tableland, with which 
it is on a level, by a valley which is 300 to 400 yds. broad 
and about 300 ft. deep. Akbar captured the city in 1570 


Vgini x and Serringe, 2 where wee 
ouertooke the ambassadour of Zelab- 
dim Echebar with a marueilous great 
company of men, elephants, and camels. 
Here is great trade of cotton and cloth 
made of cotton, and great store of 

Agra a great citie, From thence we went to Agra pass- 
ing many riuers, which by reason of the 
raine were so swollen, that wee waded 
and swamme oftentimes for our Hues. 
Agra is a very great citie and populous, 
built with stone, hauing faire and large 
streetes, with a faire riuer running by it, 
which falleth into the gulfe of Bengala. 
It hath a faire castle and a strong with 
a very faire ditch. Here bee many 
Moores and Gentiles, the king is called 
Zelabdim Echebar: the people for the 

The great Mogor. most part call him The great Mogor. 
From thence wee went for Fatepore, 
which is the place where the king 

1 Ujjain (Ujjaiyini), a town in the native state of Gwalior, lat. 
23 n' 10" N., and long. 75 51' 45" E. ; in ancient times the 
famous capital of Malwa, one of the seven sacred cities of the 
Hindus, and the spot which marked the first meridian of Hindu 
geographers. In 1571 the whole of this part of India was 
conquered by Akbar. The ruins of the ancient city are about 
a mile to the northward of the present site (H.). 

2 Sironji in Tonk State, Rajputana ; lat. 24 6' 23" N., long. 
77 43' 30" E., about 140 miles N.E. of Ujjain. It was once 
a large town famed for its muslins and chintzes (Ibid.). 


kept his court. 1 The towne is greater 
than Agra, but the houses and streetes 
Jbe not so faire. Here dwell many 
people both Moores and Gentiles. The 
king hath in Agra and Fatepore as they 
doe credibly report 1,000. elephants, 
thirtie thousand horses, 1,400. tame 
I Deere, 800. concubines : such store of 
Ounces, Tigers, Buffles, Cocks & 
Haukes, that is very strange to see. He 
keepeth a great court, which they call 
Dericcan. 2 Agra and Fatepore are two 
very great cities, either of them much 
greater than London and very populous. 

The like is reported Bctwecne Agra and Fatepore are 12. 

of the cities of miles, and all the way is a market of 

China. J 

victuals & other things, as full as though 
a man were still in a towne, and so 
many people as if a man were in a 
market. They haue many fine cartes, 

1 Agra, lat. 27 10' 6" N., long. 78 5' 4" E. Akbar had 
fixed his seat of government at the present Agra, which he 
founded on the right bank of the Jumna in 1 566, in preference 
to Delhi, where his father Humayun held hisicourt. In 1570 
he laid the foundations of Fatehpur Sikri with the intention ot 
constituting that town the capital of his empire, but was dis- 
suaded, it is suggested, by the better situation of Agra on the 
river. Fatehpur Sikri, says \hs Ain-i-Akbari, was in 1596 a ren- 
dezvous of merchants from all the known quarters of the globe ; 
at the present day it chiefly consists of an expanse of ruins, 
enclosed in a high stone wall about five miles in circumference 
(H.). Fitch draws a lively picture of this busy centre of Moghul 
power as he saw it. 

2 Probably Dera-i-Khan, house of the prince. 


and many of them carued and gilded 
with gold, with two wheeles which be 
drawen with two litle Buls about the 
bignesse of our great dogs in England, 
and they will runne with any horse, and 
carie two or three men in one of these 
cartes : they are couered with silke or 
very fine cloth, and be vsed here as our 
Coches be in England. Hither is great 
resort of marchants from Persia and 
out of India, and very much marchan- 
dise of silke and cloth, and of precious 
stones, both Rubies, Diamants, and 
Pearles. The king is apparelled in a 
white Cabie made like a shirt tied with 
strings on the one side, and a litle cloth 
on his head coloured oftentimes with 
red or yealow. None come into his 
house but his eunuches which keepe his 

"Here in Fatepore we staled all 
three vntill the 28. of September 1585, 
and then master lohn Newberie tooke 
his journey toward the citie of Lahor, 
determining from thence to goe for 
Persia and then for Aleppo or Constan- 
tinople, whether hee could get soonest 
passage vnto, and directed me to goe 
for Bengala and for Pegu, and did pro- 
mise me, if it pleased God, to meete me 
in Bengala within two yeeres with a 
shippe out of England. I left William 



wa Leades serued Leades the iewcller in seruice with the 

the king of 

king Zelabdim Echebar in Fatepore, 
who did entertaine him very well, and 
gaue him an house and fiue slaues, 
an horse, and euery day sixe S. S. in 
money. 1 

" I went from Agra to Satagam in 
Bengala, in the companie of one 
hundred and fourescore boates laden 
with Salt, Opium, Hinge, Lead, Carpets, 
and diuers other commodities downe 
the riuer lemena. 2 The chiefe mar- 
chants are Moores and Gentiles. In 
these countries they haue many strange 
ceremonies. The Bramanes which are 
their priests, come to the water and 
haue a string about their necks made 
with great ceremonies, and lade vp 
water with both their hands, and turne 
the string first with both their hands 
within, and then one arme after the 
other out. Though it be neuer so cold, 
they will wash themselues in cold water 
or in warme. These Gentiles will eate 
no flesh nor kill any thing. They Hue 
with rice, butter, milke, and fruits. 

The superstitious 
ceremonies of the 

1 As already stated Newberie was never heard of again, nor 
does Leedes appear to have found his way home. 

2 Down the rivers Jumna and Ganges to Satgaon (or 
Saptagram), now a ruined town in the Hugli District, but 
sometime the mercantile capital of Bengal. Lat. 22 38' 20" 
N., long. 88 25' 10" E. (H.). 

HIS NARRATIVE, SECOND-' t'AR>f : '^6i f ' 

They pray in the water naked, and 
dresse their meat & eate it naked, and 
for their penance they lie flat vpon the 
earth, and rise vp and turne themselues 
about 30. or 40. times, and vse to heaue 
vp their hands to the sunne, & to kisse 
the earth, with their armes and legs 
stretched along out, and their right leg 
always before the left. Euery time 
they lie downe, they make a score on 
the ground with their finger to know 
when their stint is finished. The 
Bramanes marke themselues in the 
foreheads, eares and throates with a 
kind of yellow geare which they grind, 
& euery morning they do it. And they 
haue some old men which go in the 
streetes with a boxe of yellow pouder, 
and marke men on their heads & necks 
as they meet them. And their wiues 
do come by 10. 20. & 30. together to 
the water side singing, & there do wash 
themselues, & then vse their ceremonies, 
& marke themselues in their foreheds 
and faces, and cary some with them, 
and so depart singing. Their daughters 
be maried, at, or before the age of 10. 
yeres. Their men may haue 7. wiues. 
They be a kind of craftie people, 
worse then the Jewes. When they 
salute one another, they heaue vp their 
hands to their heads, and say Rame, 


Rame. 1 Fr5 Agra I came to Prage, 
where the riuer lemena entreth into the 
Ganges. mightie riuer Ganges, and lemena looseth 

his name. 2 Ganges cometh out of the 
Northwest, & runneth East into the 
gulfe of Bengala. In those parts there 
are many Tigers and many partriges 
& turtle doues, and much other foule. 
Here be many beggers in these countries 
which goe naked, and the people make 
| great account of them : they call them 
Schesche. Here I sawe one which was 
a monster among the rest. He would 
haue nothing vpon him, his beard was 
very long, and with the haire of his 
head he couered his priuities. The 
nailes of some of his fingers were two 
inches long, for he would cut nothing 
from him, neither would he speake. He 
was accompanied with eight or tenne, 
and they spake for him. When any 
man spake to him, he would lay his 
hand upon his brest and bowe himselfe, 
but would not speake. Hee would not 
"speake to the king. We went from 
Prage downe Ganges, the which is here 
very broad. Here is great store of fish 

1 " Ram-Ram ! The commonest salutation between two 
Hindus meeting on the road ; an invocation of the Divinity " 
(Yule & Burrell's Anglo-Indian Glossary). 

2 Prage=Prayag, ancient name for Allahabad, by which the 
city is still known amongst the Hindu population (H.). 




of sundry sorts, & of wild foule, as of 
swannes, geese, cranes, and many other 
things. The countrey is very fruitfull 
and populous. The men for the most 
part haue their faces shauen, and their 
heads very long, except some which bee 
all shauen saue the crowne : and some 
of them are as though a man should 
set a dish on their heads, and shaue 
them round, all but the crowne. In 
this riuer of Ganges are many Hands. 
His water is very sweete and pleasant, 
and the countrey adioyning very fruit- 

" From thence wee went to Bannaras 
which is a great towne, and great store 
of cloth is made there of cotton, and 
Shashes for the Moores. 1 In this place 
they be all Gentiles, and be the greatest 
idolaters that euer I sawe. To this 
towne come the Gentiles on pilgrimage 
out of farre countreys. Here alongst 
the waters side bee very many faire 
houses, and in all of them, or for the 
most part they haue their images stand- 
ing, which be euill fauoured, made of 
stone and wood, some some like lions, 
leopards, and monkeis, some like men 
& women, and pecocks, and some like 

1 Benares, the sacred city of Hinduism, situated on the 
Ganges about 120 miles below its junction with the Jumna 

A pilgrimage of 
the Gentiles. 


the deuil with foure armes and 4. hands. 
They sit crosse legged, some with one 
thing in their hands, & some another, 
& by breake of day and before, there are 
men & women which come out of the 
towne and wash theselues in Ganges. 
And there are diuers old men which 
vpon places of earth made for the 
purpose, sit praying, and they giue the 
people three or foure strawes, which 
they take & hold them betweene their 
fingers when they wash themselues : 
and some sit to marke them in the fore- 
heads, and they haue in a cloth a little 
Rice, Barlie, or money, which, when 
they haue washed themselues, they giue 
to the old men which sit there praying. 
Afterwards they go to diuers of their 
images, & giue them of their sacrifices. 
And when they giue, the old men say 
certaine prayers, and then is all holy. 
And in diuers places there standeth a 
kind of image which in their language 
they call Ada. And they haue diuers 
great stones carued, whereon they poure 
water, & throw thereupon some rice, 
wheate, barly, and some other things. 
This Ada hath foure hands with clawes. 
Moreouer, they haue a great place made 
of stone like to a well with steppes to 
goe downe ; wherein the water standeth 
very foule and stinketh : for the great 


quantitie of flowers, which continually 
they throwe into it, doe make it stinke. 
There be alwayes many people in it : 
for they say when they wash themselues 
in it, that their shines be forgiuen them, 
because God, as they say, did wash 
himselfe in that place. They gather vp 
the sand in the bottome of it, and say it 
is holy. They neuer pray but in the 
water, and they wash themselues ouer- 
head, and lade vp water with both their 
handes, and turne themselues about, 
and then they drinke a litle of the 
water three times, and so goe to their 
gods which stand in those houses. 
Some of them will wash a place which 
is their length, and then will pray vpon 
the earth with their armes and legs at 
length out, and will rise vp and lie 
downe, and kisse the ground twentie or 
thirtie times, but they will not stirre 
their right foote. And some of them 
will make their ceremonies with fifteene 
or sixteene pots litle and great, and 
ring a litle bel when they make their 
mixtures tenne or twelue times : and they 
make a circle of water round about their 
pots and pray, and diuers sit by them, 
and one that reacheth them their pots : 
and they say diuers things ouer their 
pots many times, and when they haue 
done, they goe to their gods, and strowe 


their sacrifices which they thinke are 
very holy, and marke many of them 
which sit by, in the foreheads, which 
they take as a great gift. There come 
fiftie and sometime an hundred together, 
to wash them in this well, and to offer 
to these idols. 

" They haue in some of these houses 
their idoles standing, and one sitteth by 
them in warme weather with a fanne to 
blowe winde vpon them. And when 
they see any company comming, they 
ring a litle bell which hangeth by them, 
and many giue them their almes, but 
especially those which come out of the 
countrey. Many of them are blacke 
and haue clawes of brasse with long 
nayles, and some ride vpon peacockes 
and other foules which be euill fauoured, 
with long haukes bils, and some like 
one thing and some another, but none 
with a good face. Among the rest there 
is one which they make great account 
of: for they say hee giueth them all 
things both foode and apparell, and one 
sitteth alwayes by him with a fanne to 
make wind towards him. Here some 
bee burned to ashes, some scorched in 
the fire and throwen into the water, and 
dogges and foxes doe presently eate 
them. The wiues here doe burne with 
their husbands when they die, if they 


will not, their heads be shauen, and 
neuer any account is made of them after- 
ward. The people goe all naked saue a 
litle cloth bound about their middle. 
Their women haue their necks, armes 
and eares decked with rings of siluer, 
copper, tinne, and with round hoopes 
made of luorie, adorned with amber 
stones, and with many agats, and they 
are marked with a great spot of red in 
their foreheads, and a stroke of red vp 
to the crowne, and so it runneth three 
maner of wayes. In their Winter, which 
is our May, the men weare quilted 
gownes of cotton like to our mattraces 
and quilted caps like to our great 
Grocers morters, with a slit to looke out 
at, and so tied downe beneath their 
eares. If a man or a woman be sicke 
and like to die, they will lay him before 
their idols all night, and that shall helpe 
him or make an ende of him. And if 
he do not mend that night, his friends 
will come and sit with him a litle and 
cry, and afterwards will cary him to the 
waters side and set him vpon a litle raft 
made of reeds, and so let him goe downe 
the riuer. When they be maried the 
man and the woman come to the water 
side, and there is an olde man which 
they call a Bramane, that is, a priest, a 
cowe, and a calfe, or a cowe with calfe. 



Then the man and the woman, cowe and 
calfe, and the olde man goe into the 
water together, and they giue the olde 
man a white cloth of foure yards long, 
and a basket crosse bound with diuers 
things in it : the cloth hee laieth vpon 
the backe of the cowe, and then he 
taketh the cowe by the ende of the 
taile, and saieth certain wordes : and she 
hath a copper or a brasse pot full of 
water, and the man doeth hold his hand 
by the olde mans hand, and the wiues 
hand by her husbands, and all haue 
the cowe by the taile and they poure 
water out of the pot vpon the cowes 
taile, and it runneth through all their 
hands, and they lade vp water with their 
handes, and then the olde man doeth 
This tying of new tie him and her together by their clothes. 

maried folks to- _ T71 . - , J 

Which done, they goe round about the 
cowe and calfe, and then they giue some 
what to the poore which be alwayes 
there, and to the Bramane or priest 
they give the cowe and calfe, and after- 
ward goe to diuers of their idoles and 
offer money, and lie downe flat vpon the 
ground and kisse it diuers times, and 
then goe their way. Their chiefe idoles 
be blacke and euill fauoured, their 
mouthes monstrous, their eares gilded, 
and full of iewels, their teeth and eyes 
of gold, siluer and glasse, some hauing 

clothes, was vsed 
by the Mexicans 
in old time. 


one thing in their handes, and some 
another. You may not come into the 
house where they stand, with your shooes 
on. They haue continually lampes burn- 
ing before them. 

Patenaw. " From Bannaras I went to Patenaw J 

downe the riuer of Ganges : where in the 
way we passed many faire townes, and a 
countrey very fruitfull : and many very 
great riuers doe enter into Ganges ; 
and some of them as great as Ganges, 
which cause Ganges to bee of a great 
breadth, and so broad that in the time of 
raine you cannot see from one side to 
the other. These Indians when they 
bee scorched and throwen into the 
water, the men swim me with their faces 
downewards, the women with their faces 
vpwards, I thought they tied something 
to them to cause them to doe so : but 
they say no. There be very many 
thieues in this countrey, which be like 
to the Arabians : for they have no cer- 
taine abode, but are sometime in one 
place and sometime in another. Here 
the women bee so decked with siluer and 
copper, that it is strange to see, they 
vse no shooes by reason of the rings of 
siluer and copper which they weare on 
their toes. Here at Patanaw they finde 

1 Patna, still one of the largest cities in India (H.). 


Gold found. gold in this maner. They digge deepe 

pits in the earth, and wash the earth 
in great holies, and therein they finde 
the gold, and they make the pits round 
about with bricke, that the earth fall not 
in. Patenaw is a very long and a great 
towne. In times past it was a kingdom, 
but now it is vnder Zelabdim, Echebar 
the great Mogor. The men are tall and 
slender, and haue many old folks among 
them : the houses are simple, made of 
earth and couered with strawe, the 
streetes are very large. In this towne 
there is a trade of cotton, & cloth of 
cotton, much sugar, which they cary 
from hence to Bengala and India, very 
much Opium & other commodities. He 
that is chiefe here vnder the king is 
called Tipperdas, and is of great account 
among the people. Here in Patenau I 
saw a dissembling prophet which sate 
vpon an horse in the market place, and 
made as though he slept, and many 
of the people came and touched his 
J } vi feete with their hands, and then kissed 

their hands. They tooke him for a 
great man, but sure he was a lasie 
lubber. I left him there sleeping. The 
people of these countries be much 
giuen to such prating and dissembling 
i hypocrites. 

T*nda in Gouren, " From Patanaw I went to Tanda 



Couche : this 
seemeth to be 
duichen, accorted 
by some among 
the provinces 
of China. 

which is in the land of Gouren. 1 It 
hath in times past bene a kingdom, but 
now is subdued by Zelabdim Echebar. 
Great trade and traffique is here of 
cotton, and of cloth of cotton. The 
people goe naked with a litle cloth 
bound about their waste. It standeth in 
the countrey of Bengala. Here be many 
Tigers, wild Bufs, and great store of 
wilde foule : they are very great idola- 
ters. Tanda standeth from the riuer 
Ganges a league, because in times past 
the riuer flowing over the bankes, in 
time of raine did drowne the countrey 
and many villages, and so they do re- 
maine. And the old way which the riuer 
Ganges was woont to run, remaineth 
drie, which is the occasion that the citie 
doeth stand so farre from the water. 
From Agra down the riuer lemena, and 
downe the riuer Ganges, I was flue 
moneths comming to Bengala, but it 
may be sailed in much shorter time. 

" I went from Bengala into the country 
of Couche, which lieth 25. dayes iourny 
Northwards from Tanda. 2 The king is 

1 Tanda, Tandan, or Tanra, is a petty village in Maldah 
District, Bengal, but even the site of the ancient town, which 
became the capital of Bengal after the decadence of Gaur, has 
not been accurately determined (H.). 

2 Kuch Behar. From the point of view of the explorer this 
is the most interesting part of the journey. Fitch evidently had 


a Gentile, his name is Suckel Counse : x 
his countrey is great, and lieth not 
far from Cauchin China : for they 
say they haue pepper from thence. 
The port is called Cacchegate. All 
the countrie is set with Bambos or 
Canes made sharpe at both endes & 
driuen into the earth, and they can let 
in the water & drowne the ground aboue 
knee deepe, so that me nor horses can 
passe. They poison all the waters if 
any wars be. Here they haue much 
silke & muske, and cloth made of cotton. 
The people haue eares which be 
marueilous great of a span long, which 
they draw out in length by deuises when 
Pure Gentmsins. they be yong. Here they be all Gen- 
tiles, and they will kil nothing. They 
haue hospitals for sheepe, goates, dogs, 
cats, birds, & for all other liuing crea- 
tures. When they be old & lame, they 
keepe them vntil they die. If a man 
catch or buy any quicke thing in other 
places & bring it thither, they will giue 

an afterthought on the subject, for he refers to it in a subsequent 
passage in his narrative. 

1 Lieut.-Gen. Fytche in " Burma Past and Present," vol. i. 
p. 7 (Kegan Paul, 1878), says : "Col. Haughton, late Commis- 
sioner of the Cooch Behar Division, has kindly furnished me 
with a Coorsinamah, or genealogical table of the Cooch Behar 
family, in which this prince appears under the name of 
Sukladuge or Seela Roy ; he was the progenitor of the Durrung 
branch of the family." 


In Mexico they 
vse likes wise for 
small money the 
fruit Cacao which 
are like almonds. 


Porto Angeli. 

him mony for it or other victuals, & 
keepe it in their hospitals or let it go, 
They will giue meat to the Ants. Their 
smal mony is almonds, which oftentimes 
they vse to eat. 

" From thence I returned to Hugeli, 
which is the place where the Portugals 
keep in the country of Bengala which 
standeth in 23. degrees of Northerly 
latitude, and standeth a league from 
Satagan : they cal it Porto Piqueno. 1 
We went through the wildernes, because 
the right way was full of thieues, where 
we passed the countrey of Gouren, where 
we found but few villages, but almost 
all wildernes, & saw many buffes, swine 
& deere, grasse longer then a ma, and 
very many Tigers. Not far from Porto j 
Piqueno southwestward, standeth an 
hauen which is called Angeli, in the 
countrey of Orixa. It was a kingdom 
of it selfe, & the king was a great friend 
to strangers. Afterwards it was taken 
by the king of Patan which was their 
neighbour, but he did not enjoy it long, 

1 Hugli, now the chief town and administrative headquarters 
of Hugli District, Bengal, is situated on the east bank of the 
river of the same name. Lat. 22 54' 44" N., long. 88 26' 28" E. 
It is said to have been founded by the Portuguese in 1537 on 
the decay of Satgaon (Fitch's Satagam or Satagan already 
identified), the royal port of Bengal, caused by the silting up of 
the Saraswati river (H.). 



The like cloth 
may be made of 
the long grasae 
in Virginia. 

but was taken by Zelabdim Echebar 
^which is king of Agra, Belli, & Cambaia. 
Orixa standeth 6 daies Journey from 
Satagan southwestward. 1 In this place 
is very much Rice, and cloth made of 
cotton, & great store of cloth which is 
made of grasse, which they call Yerua, 
it is like a silke. They make good cloth 
of it which they send for India & diuers 
other places. To this hauen of Angeli 
come euery yere many ships out of 
India, Negapatan, Sumatra, Malacca, 
and diuers other places ; & lade from 
thence great store of Rice, & much 
cloth of cotton wooll, much sugar, & 
long pepper, great store of butter & 
other victuals for India. Satagam is a 
faire citie for a citie of the Moores, and 
very plentifull of all things. Here in 
Bengala they haue euery day in one 
place or other a great market which 
they call Chandeau,and they haue many 
great boats which they cal pericose, 
wherewithall they go from place to 

1 Orissa, the Holy Land of the Hindus. In 1567-8 Sulaiman, 
the Afghan king of Bengal, overran Orissa and captured the 
city of Puri where stands the famous shrine of Jagannath 
(Vishnu). His second son, Daud Khan, who succeeded to the 
governorship of Bengal, threw off his allegiance to the Moghul 
Emperor at Delhi with the result that in 1578 a battle took 
place in which Daud was killed. Orissa became a province of 
Akbar's empire, and remained so till 1751, when the Marathas 
obtained it (H.). 



place and buy Rice and many other 
things : these boates haue 24. or 26. oares 
to rowe them, they be great of burthen, 
but haue no couerture. Here the Gen- 
tiles haue the water of Ganges in great 
estimation, for hauing good water neere 
them, yet they will fetch the water of 
Ganges a great way off, and if they 
haue not sufficient to drinke, they will 
sprinkle a litle on them, and then they 
thinke themselues well. From Satagam 
I trauelled by the countrey of the king 
Tippara or porto of Tippara or porto Grande, with whom 
the Mogores or Mogen haue almost con- 
tinuall warres. The Mogen which be of 
the kingdom of Recon and Rame, be 
stronger then the king of Tippara, so 
that Chatigan or porto Grande is often- 
times vnder the king of Recon. 1 

1 At this time, says Sir Arthur Phayre in his i( History of 
Burma," p. 270 (Triibner, 1883), Chittagaon, or Chittagong, was 
subject to Arakan : " The name of Ramu is applied to the 
country of Chittagaon in a general description of Bengal which 
is found in Purchas (vol. v. p. 508). These instances probably 
explain the name of Ruhmi, Rahma, or Rahmaa given to a 
kingdom on the sea coast of the Bay of Bengal by the Arabian 
voyagers in the ninth and tenth centuries of the Christian era. 
It has been supposed to refer to Ramri in Arakan, or to 
Ramanya, the classic name of Pegu. There is now a village 
called Ramu in the southern part of the Chittagaon district, 
which is a police station. It probably represents the name 
by which the territory in question was known to the Arabs, and 
which we may now conclude extended from the north bank of 
the river Naf to the confines of Bengal. Fitch heard the name 



Bottanter a great 
Northren country. 
Marchants of 
China, Moscouia 
and Tartarie. 

These seeme to be 
the mountains of 
Imaus, called by 
the people Cumao. 

"There is a country 4. dales iournie 
from Couche or Quickeu before men- 
tioned, which is called Bottanter and the 
citie Bottia, the king is called Dermain ; 
the people whereof are very tall and 
strong, and there are marchants which 
come out of China, & they say out of 
Muscouia or Tartarie. And they come 
to buy muske, cambals, agats, silke, 
pepper and saffron like the saffron of 
Persia. The countrey is very great, 3. 
moneths iourney. There are very high 
mountains in this countrey, & one of. 
them so steep that when a man is 6. 
daies iourney off it, he may see it per- 
fectly. Vpon these mountains are people 
which haue eares of a spanne long : if 
their eares be not long, they call them 
apes. They say that when they be vpon 
the mountaines, they see ships in the 
Sea sayling to and fro ; but they know 

when in Chittagaon, and the king of Arakan then held the 
country north of the Naf." Hunter further states that the dis- 
trict was probably first conquered by the Muhammadans during 
the period of Afghan supremacy in Bengal, between the thir- 
teenth and sixteenth centuries. During the struggle between 
the Moghuls and Afghans, towards the close of the sixteenth 
century, Chittagong seems to have been reconquered by the 
Raja of Arakan, but the reconquest was ignored by the Moghuls 
after the final expulsion of the Afghans from Bengal. Todar 
Mall, Akbar's finance minister in 1582, assessed the place 
although it was a province of Arakan and remained so till 1666, 
when it was reannexed to the Moghul empire. 



The apparel of 



not from whence they come, nor 
whether they go. There are marchants 
which come out of the East, they say, 
from vnder the sunne, which is from 
China, which haue no beards, and they 
say there it is something warme. But 
those which come from the other side of 
the mountains which is from the North, 
say there it is very cold. These"' 
Northren merchants are apparelled with 
woollen cloth and hats, white hosen 
close, and bootes which be of Moscouia 
or Tartarie. They report that in their 
countrey they haue very good horses, but 
they be litle : some men haue foure, fiue, 
or six hundred horses and kine : they 
Hue with milke and fleshe. They cut \ 
the tailes of their kine, and sell them 
very deere, for they bee in great request, 
and much esteemed in those partes. 
The hair of them is a yard long, the 
rumpe is aboue a spanne long : they vse 
to hang them for brauerie vpon the 
heades of their Elephants : they bee 
much vsed in Pegu and China : they 
buie and selle by scores vpon the ground. 
The people be very swift on foote. 1 

1 This account of Bhutan and the traffic from beyond the 
Himalaya which, confessedly, is all hearsay gives rise to the 
suggestion that if Fitch had continued the journey northward 
from Kuch Behar he would have found no difficulty in entering 
Tibet. He might even have penetrated to Lhasa, and estab- 

Cowe tailes in 
great request. 


" From Chatigan in Bengala, I came 
to Bacola ; the king whereof is a 
Gentile, a man very well disposed and 
delighted much to shoot in a gun. His 
countrey is very great and fruitful, and 
hath store of Rice, much cotton cloth, 
and cloth of silke. The houses be very 
faire and high builded, the streetes large, 
the people naked, except a litle cloth 
about their waste. The women weare 
great store of siluer hoopes about their 
neckes and armes, and their legs are 
ringed with siluer and copper, and rings 
made of elephants teeth. 1 

" From Bacola I went to Serrepore 
which standeth vpon the riuer of Ganges, 
the king is called Chondery. They be 
all hereabouts rebels against their king 

lished the record of the first British visitor to that semi- 
mysterious city which even to this day has only been trodden 
by one Englishman (Manning, about 181 1). The description he 
gives of the Bhutias as an athletic, vigorous race still holds 
good, according to Hunter, but they are degraded by mis- 
government, "their morals are extremely low, and their num- 
bers reduced by the unnatural system of polyandry and the 
excessive prevalence of monastic institutions." Nominally, 
there are two supreme authorities, the Dharm Raja, the spiritual 
head, and the Deb Raja, the temporal ruler. 

1 Probably Barisal, the present headquarters of the Bakarganj 
district, which is described as "a typical part of the alluvial delta 
formed by the three great river systems of Bengal." It is 
further suggested that Bakarganj formed part of Todar Mall's 
(1582) Sirkar of Sonargaon. The town is situated in lat. 22 
41' 40" N., long. 90 24' 30" E. (H.). 


Zebaldim Echebar : for here are so 
many riuers and Hands, that they flee 
from one to another, whereby his horse- 
men cannot preuaile against them. 
Great store of cotton cloth is made 
here. 1 

sinnerg&n. " Sinnergan is a towne sixe leagues 

from Serrepore, where there is the best 
and finest cloth made of cotton that is 
in all India. The chiefe king of all 
these countries is called Isacan, and he 
is chiefe of all the other kings, and is 
a great friend to all Christians. The 
houses here, as they be in the most part 
of India, are very litle, and couered with 
strawe, and haue a fewe mats round 
about the wals, and the doore to keepe 
out the Tygers and the Foxes. Many 
of the people are very rich. Here they 
will eate no flesh, nor kill no beast : 
They Hue of Rice, milke, and fruits, 
they goe with a litle cloth before them, 
and all the rest of their bodies is naked. 
Great store of Cotton cloth goeth from 
hence, and much Rice, wherewith they 
serue all India, Ceilon, Pegu, Malacca, 

1 Serampur, chief town of a sub-division of the same name in 
the Hugli District, Bengal, lat. 22 45' 26" N., and long. 88 23" 
10" E. Formerly a Danish Settlement, but ceded to the East 
India Co. in 1845 ; famous as the scene of the labours of the 
Baptist Missionaries Carey, Marshman, and Ward (H.). 


A Sumatra, and many other places." * 
(Continued on page 153.) 

1 Sonargaon, the ancient Muhammadan capital of East 
Bengal, now an insignificant village called Painam in the 
Dacca District, lat. 23 39' 45" N., long. 90 38' 20" E. Azim 
Shah, son of Sikandar, proclaimed his independence here and 
invited the poet Hafiz to his court. It lies hidden in a grove of 
palms and bush, and is surrounded by a deep muddy ditch, 
once a moat (H.). Isa Khan, who was in power when Fitch 
visited the city, maintained his independent rule for several 
years, but at his death the district became part of the Moghul 
Empire. The cloth referred to was the famous Dacca muslin 
(Cunningham : " India, Archaeological Survey Reports," vol. xv. 
P- 135). 








THE third and final stage of Ralph Fitch's 
journey ings before he set his face homeward 
was to the confines of Portuguese authority. Possibly 
if Newberie had continued eastward some attempt 
would have been made to carry the Queen's letter to 
the Chinese Emperor ; Fitch, however, not only pro- 
ceeded to Pegu but went on to Malacca and thus 
reached the furthest centre, but one, under European 
government. The risks he ran in this unsettled 
region, where the Western adventurers were already 
not too favourably known, were perhaps less on 
the whole than on the Malabar Coast, where Portu- 
guese jealousy was added to native suspicion and 
Mussulman rivalry. It is possible in these days 
to realise somewhat of the attractions which would 
have tempted him to brave even greater dangers. 
The reports of the glories of Pegu rivalled those of 
Golden Goa, and as Fitch came nearer to the city he 
must have heard still more of them. This was the 

heyday of the Burmese renaissance, and the great 



wealth accumulated in the sea-ports was overflowing 
for the benefit of all comers, for there seems to have 
been considerable freedom in trade. Even where 
commerce became hampered by the wars of the local 
kings along the coast-line from Arakan on the west 
to Siam on the east, the services of the European 
visitors were eagerly enlisted. The Portuguese utterly 
failed to obtain anything approaching permanent 
influence of importance anywhere on the coasts 
beyond their emporium at Malacca, and do not 
appear to have attempted seriously to secure it. 
The following is a short account of the rise of their 
dominion, such as it was, in these distant seas, and an 
historical summary of events in the adjoining empire, 
immediately prior to and including the period of the 
visit of the first Englishman to Burma a record 
which is rich in stirring episodes : 

Albuquerque having established him- 
SStaST' self at Goa (November, 1510) threw his 

powerful energies into the task of ex- 
tending his country's influence further east. Malacca, 
the gate to the Spice Islands, was his first objective, 
the ostensible reason for his attack on the flourishing 
city being the treachery of the Muhammadan Sultan. 
The first European fleet to visit this important 
emporium arrived in 1509 under Diogo Lopes de 
Sequeira, who came with five ships, one of his com- 
panions being Ruy de Araujo, a friend and supporter 
of Albuquerque, who had not yet succeeded to the 
Governorship of India. Hearing of a plot to murder 
the Portuguese and destroy their vessels organised 


by their old rivals the Muhammadan traders Sequeira 
burnt two of his ships and sailed away with the other 
three, leaving Araujo, who had been landed as factor, 
and his staff of about twenty Portuguese to their fate. 
To wreak vengeance on the Sultan of Malacca a 
squadron of four sail was despatched from Portugal 
in 1510 under the command of Diogo Mendes de 
Vasconcellos, but was detained by Albuquerque to 
assist in the operations at Goa. These having been 
carried out with distinguished success the latter, who 
was now Governor, determined to plant Portuguese 
power once for all in the Eastern gate. At this time 
it is recorded that Malacca had 100,000 inhabitants, 
and such was the representation of the various races 
that four special Captains of the Port were appointed 
to rule the chief nationalities, Chinese, Javanese, 
Guzeratis and Bengalis respectively ; the Sultan was 
of Javanese extraction. 

Sailing with a force of eighteen vessels and 1,400 
men, Albuquerque touched at Pedir in Sumatra in 
May, 1511, having lost one galley in the run from 
Goa. Here he found nine of the Portuguese prisoners 
who had effected their escape, and who no doubt 
were of great assistance to him in his design upon 
the populous city. On arriving at Malacca some 
time was spent in fruitless negotiations with the 
Sultan for the release of Araujo and his remaining 
companions, till at last a letter was received from the 
imprisoned factor, who, with rare fidelity to the cause 
of his country, urged Albuquerque to disregard his 
fate and to attack the city at once. To bring matters 
to a crisis boats were sent from the fleet to fire the 


ships in the harbour and also the waterside houses, 
with the result that the Sultan immediately released 
Araujo and his fellow prisoners and sealed his own 
fate. Acting under a plan devised by the newly 
liberated factor, who, it will be remembered, had 
spent nearly two years in the city, the first attack 
was delivered on July 25th, with such success that a 
second attack, which promptly followed, resulted 
in the capture of the great city and the expulsion 
of the Sultan. 

Besides setting to work at once to 

A trade centre. , ., 1 r 

siam, china, and build a permanent fort at Malacca, 
Burma. Albuquerque, with the statesmanlike 

sagacity which distinguished the whole of his career 
as Governor, took steps to preserve the reputation of 
the city as a great entrepot. Certain Chinese traders 
and sailors, who were protected by him during the 
assaults, returned home in their own junks, full of 
stories of his prowess and magnanimity, with the 
result that the deposed Sultan could obtain no help 
from that quarter. A Hindu merchant, who had 
befriended Araujo during his captivity, found that 
his property was respected, a fact which won over 
the representatives of that section of the polyglot 
city. The Burmese and other foreign traders were 
also encouraged, but, on the other hand, the Malay 
Mussulmans were given no mercy, and were cowed to 
begin with by the public execution of a leading 
Javanese merchant for an act of treachery. 

In carrying out his great ideal Albuquerque sent 
emissaries in various directions to reach the sources 
of trade supplies. One of these was Duarte Fer- 


nandes, who proceeded to Siam with the Chinese 
junks and established very cordial relations with the 
king. Messages were also received by the new con- 
queror from the King of Campar (? Champa, Cochin 
China), the son-in-law of the late King of Malacca, 
and the King of Java, while a trading mission in the 
shape of three large rowing-boats came in from 
Menecambo at the southern point of Sumatra. 
Albuquerque responded amicably to all these 
advances, and the messengers were sent back loaded 
with gifts in exchange for the presents they brought ; 
Antonia de Miranda de Azevedo being despatched as 
special ambassador to Siam. One of the most im- 
portant of his missions, intended to consolidate the 
trade relations of the new eastern metropolis, was 
that of Antonio de Abreu, who, in command of three 
ships, was ordered to explore the Moluccas and the 
region of the Spice Islands generally. In this ex- 
pedition, it is interesting to note, there sailed a young 
Portuguese gentleman, Fernao de Magalhaes, who, 
as Magellan, has left his name on the map of the 
world. 1 Duarte Coelho was sent to Cochin China 
and Tongking, and Ruy Nunez d'Acunha to Pegu. 
Having made these arrangements and provided for 
the administration of Malacca during his absence, the 
Governor returned to Goa, narrowly escaping death 
from shipwreck on the way. He found his Indian 
metropolis again invested by an army from Bijapur, 

1 Stephens, p. 109. Danvers (vol i. chap, viii.) gives the 
names of de Abreu's companions as Francisco Serrao and 
Simao Affonso ; probably they had command of two of the 


strengthened by deserters from his own garrison, for 
even thus early Portuguese freebooters and renegades 
began to figure prominently in these parts. The relief 
of Goa was carried through in brilliant fashion (1512), 
and Rasul Khan, having been in turn invested in the 
fortress of Benasterim, at length capitulated. The 
terms of surrender were that the deserters should be 
given up, on condition that their lives were spared, 
and that the rest of the forces should be allowed to 
march out minus their stores, horses, and artillery. 
Albuquerque, with all the savagery of his time, 
kept his word as regards sparing the lives of the 
renegades, but mutilated them in a shocking manner. 
After cutting off their ears and noses, their right 
hands and thumbs of their left hands, he shipped 
them to Portugal as a warning to other adventurers 
who were crowding the Indian fleets. The old 
chronicler (Sousa) tells us that one of these maimed 
and disfigured wretches, Ferdinando Lopez, volun- 
tarily stayed "with a black" in the Island of St. 
Helena, where he afterwards proved serviceable to 
passing caravels. 

The first systematic attempt to dominate the trade 
of the Further East from its principal centre, Malacca, 
proved more or less successful for many years. 
Thus King Sebastian of Portugal divided the eastern 
governorship into three parts, and in 1571 the next 
Viceroy, Don Antonio de Noronha, found that he 
was to be supreme only from the coasts of Arabia 
to Ceylon, with his capital at Goa, to control the 
Indian and Persian trade. Another Governor, with 
headquarters at Malacca, was appointed for the spice 


trade, with jurisdiction from Bengal to the Furthest 
East ; and a third to rule all the Portuguese 
settlements on the south-east coast of Africa, with 
his capital at Mozambique. 

Up to the time of Fitch's wanderings 

Firit traffic with . 

Burma. " A pious in these regions, the Portuguese had 
only succeeded in founding one or two 
temporary settlements upon what we now know as 
the Burmese coasts. Indeed, with the exception of 
an occasional friendly trade treaty, their political 
connection with this rich country was in the main 
limited, even in subsequent years, to the doubtful 
advantages arising from the exploits of their own 
unruly soldiers of fortune. The rich metropolitan 
city and port of Pegu was well known, at least by 
repute, in Albuquerque's time, and we are told that 
in his operations at Malacca he was assisted by three 
hundred men belonging to the merchants of the city. 1 
No account appears to have been preserved of the 
mission of Ruy Nunez d'Acunha to the capital. In 
1517 John de Silveira, who had been sent to the 
Maldives to obtain permission to build a fort, returned 
to Goa with four sail. He had accomplished his task, 
but during the voyage seized two vessels belonging to 
Cambay and sent them to Cochin as prizes. This 
high-handed act did not pass unnoticed by a member 
of his crew, described as " a young Bengalian." 
Silveira was next despatched to Chittagong, but as 
the event proved the Portuguese could hardly have 
chosen a worse representative to obtain for them a 
footing in a new country. The " young Bengalian " 

1 Sousa, vol. i. p. 181. 


told his story and denounced Silveira as a pirate. 
"It had been worse with him," says Sousa, " had not 
John Coello arrived there with his ship from Pacem, 
being sent on the same errand by Ferdinando Perez 
de Andrade to the King of Bengala." Silveira 
passed the winter with great hardship, for the people 
of the country would have nothing to do with him. 
Chittagong at this time was subject to Arakan, and, 
on the baffled treaty-maker preparing to leave the 
king sent him a present and invited him ashore. 
Silveira, however, shrewdly guessed what was in 
store for him, and continued his return voyage till 
he reached Ceylon, where he eventually became 
Governor of the settlement. Thus inauspiciously 
ended the first recorded story of Portuguese com- 
munication with the western portion of the Burmese 
coast, the nature of it being but a type of what was to 
follow, for the Sunderbunds in after years became a 
nest of pirates. In 1518 Lopo Soarez de Albergaria 
was succeeded in the Governorship by Diogo Lopes 
de Sequiera, to whom we are told " the King gave 
the Government of India as a reward of his good 
service in Africk, his discovery of Malaca and 
worthy Qualities." x 

1 Sousa, vol. i. p. 224, states that Sequiera left Lisbon with 
nine ships and 1,500 fighting-men, adding : " At the Cape of 
Good Hope, one Ship was in danger of perishing by means of a 
great fish, which running against her, stuck the length of two 
spans of a long Beak it has into her side ; this was afterwards 
found to be the Fish called the * Needle.' " We have already 
witnessed an exhibition of Sequeira's " worthy qualities " at 
Malacca in 1509, when he appears to have made no effort to 
rescue Araujo and his companions. 


In the following year (15 19) Andrea Correa arrived 
at Malacca, having been more successful in establish- 
ing relations with another portion of Burma than 
Silveira had proved with the potentate of Arakan. 
Correa's expedition was to Martaban, which had 
become a great port, especially since the Cape trade 
had been opened. A populous city (though in recent 
times only the size of a village) seated at the mouth 
of the Salwin river, it was governed by a Viceroy 
who had control of a large extent of territory, and 
held great state. 1 Correa reported that he had con- 
cluded a treaty with the King of Pegu's Viceroy, and 
the following amusing account of the ceremony is 
given by Sousa : 

" At the swearing of the Peace assisted with the King's 
Ministers, the Priests of both Nations, Catholick and 
Gentiles. The Heathen was called the Great Raulim, who 
after the Capitulations made in the Golden Mine, as is the 
Custom of those People were publickly read, began to read 
in a Book, and then taking some yellow Paper (a colour 
dedicated to their holy uses) with some sweet Leaves of 
Trees, whereon were certain Characters, set Fire to it all, 
and then taking the Hands of the King's Minister and 
holding them over the ashes, said some words, which 
rendered the Oath inviolable. Anthony Correa, to answer 
this Solemnity, ordered his Priest to put on a Surplice and 
bring his Breviary, which was so tottered and torn, that it 
was scandalous those Heathens should see how little respect 
was paid to our sacred Books. Correa observing this, 
ordered to be brought instead of it a Book of Church- 

1 Phayre, p. 96, says the Viceroy was styled Soabinya, and 
that he was the brother-in-law of the King of Pegu. 


[usick, which was more creditable, being bigger and better 
ound, and opening it the first Verse he met was, Vanity of 
r anities. This passed among those People as well as if it 
ad been the Gospel." 

The chronicler adds for the information of his 

"The Metropolis of the Kingdom is Bagou, corruptly 
illed Pegu. On the West of it is the Bay of Bengala, on 
le East the Kingdom of Siam, on the South that of 
lalaca, and on the North that of Arracam. The length 
[most a 100 Leagues, and is some places the same bredth, 
ot including its Conquests. The Land is plain, well 
'atered, and therefore fruitful, producing several Plants 
nd plentiful of Provisions, as well as of Cattle as Grain, 
n it many Temples with multiplicity of Idols and much 
ariety of Ceremonies." 

He further refers to a current tradition to account 
3r the ugliness of the men and the comparative beauty 
f the women. 1 As the outcome of the treaty the 
'ortuguese built a fort at Martaban, which they held 
:>r a number of years as their chief trading depot in 
Jurma, until in fact the whole of this portion of the 
Lmpire, after many vicissitudes, had become devas- 
ated by war and famine. 

As the result of the Mongol invasion 

glimpse of at t j ie enc j O f t h e thirteenth century the 

unnese history. J 

old Burmese Empire was split up into 

:ingdoms, and eventually, whilst a Shan reigned in 

Vva, different potentates held sway in Prome, Taungu, 

Vrakan, and, greatest of all, a Talaing king reigned 

1 Vol. i. p. 227. 



in Pegu. Taungu was the least of all these domains, 
but its history from the time it could gain a separate 
government is romantic in the extreme. 1 At the 
close of the fifteenth century Taungu consisted of a 
tiny territory seated in the middle course of the 
Sitang river, being eighty miles long from north to 
south, with a breadth, including the adjacent moun- 
tain-sides, of less than thirty miles. Enclosed on the 
east and west by mountainous districts nhabited by 
wild tribes of Karens, with broken country to the 
north and south, it is not difficult to picture the 
secluded situation of the population in the valley 
where the capital city was eventually built. Colonised 
from the north by Burmese and from the south by 
Talaings from Pegu, in 1470 a governor, who ruled 
the small province for the Shan King of Ava, declared 
himself independent and founded a dynasty. He 
was succeeded by his son, Meng Sithu, who, however, 
was assassinated about 1485 by his nephew Meng 
Kyinyo. During the long reign of the usurper, some 
forty-five years, the independence of Taungu was 
acknowledged by Ava, alliances were made with 
Prome, Pegu, and Siam, and a new city was built. 
Meanwhile, the secluded monarchy became a centre 
of national feeling. There were many in those days 

1 Taungu (Phayre), Taung-ngu (Hunter). In 1279, says the 
latter, two sons of the King of Martaban built a town on one 
of the hills which they called Taung-ngu, from Taung a hill, 
and ngu a projecting spur. The seat of government was (1299) 
transferred to a town in the valley, and to the present site in 
1485. The summary of Burmese history given in the text is 
based mainly upon the results of Sir Arthur Phayre's researches ; 
deviations from his dates and sequences are duly quoted. 


who treasured the memories of the old empire ; the 
Burmese nobles who resented the rule of the Shans 
found an asylum among the hills of Taungu, and 
persecution drove Buddhist monks thither from Ava. 
That Kyinyo cherished some design to restore the 
Burmese dynasty, in name at least, appears to be 
reflected in the fact that the Burmese chronicles trace 
his descent from the last King of Pagan. In 1530 
he was succeeded by his son Mengtara, or Tabeng 
Shwehti, who entered upon his father's great project 
with all the ardour of a youth of sixteen at a time, 
too, when surrounding circumstances appeared to 
afford every opportunity for a scheme of restoration. 
In Pegu a king known as Binya Ran had concluded 
a long and comparatively peaceful reign of thirty-five 
years. It is recorded as remarkable that he only 
marched out of his dominions at the head of an army 
on two occasions, and one of these is described as a 
pilgrimage. The other expedition, however, which 
was an unsuccessful attempt to crush the rising state 
of Taungu the home of the refugee sowed the seeds 
of retaliation in fruitful ground. Binya Ran, whose 
glories are recorded by early European travellers, 
died in 1526, and was succeeded in his possessions, 
which included the Viceroyalty of Martaban under 
Soabinya, by his son Takarwutbi, who was then 
fifteen years of age. As to the other neighbouring 
kingdoms, Prome had become involved in the dis- 
putes of the Shan chiefs who rapidly followed each 
other on the throne of Ava, and about the time that 
Tabeng succeeded his father in Taungu, the govern- 
ment of Prome had just been seized by one Narabadi. 


In Arakan a young king of considerable ability, and 
known as Meng Beng, was reigning, his territories 
including Chittagong. As to the shattered kingdom 
of Ava, Thohanbwa, son of a Shan chief of Monyin, 
was at last placed on the throne by his father, and 
appears to have been mainly distinguished for his 
hatred to the Burmese race. 

Such were Tabeng's neighbours, and, potentially, 
his rivals and opponents. From the first the young 
king acted with extraordinary forethought, and from 
the time he came to the throne he was guided by the 
wise counsels of his brother-in-law, a very remarkable 
man whose title, Bureng Naung, subsequently became 
celebrated in the Portuguese annals, and among the 
adventurers who served under or against him, as 
Branginoco. Four or more years were spent in 
preparing a plan of campaign, and at last it was 
decided to commence operations by an attack upon 
the most formidable neighbour of all, the great king- 
dom of the delta, Pegu. 1 

When the Burmese forces, with prob- 
Faii of Pegu. ably a large contingent of Karen 
^rceniS Uei auxiliaries from the mountains, marched 
upon the capital city of Pegu (1534-5), 
Tabeng Shwehti was not more than twenty-one 
years of age. He had thus early given promise of 
unwonted ability, and now appeared as the fitting 
representative of a hopeful cause. On the other 
hand, the young king of Pegu, Takarwutbi, during 
his reign of eight or nine years had given himself up 
to the pleasures and vices of a rich oriental court. 
1 Phayre, pp. 93-4. 


The result of such a conflict, in the days when 
princes were leaders of armies, was a foregone con- 
clusion. In the first attack Tabeng was beaten back 
by the Talaings, who were under the generalship not 
of their king, but of two Shan nobles. Undaunted 
by this reverse, and unpunished by a counter attack, 
as they certainly would have been by the late king, 
Binya Ran, the invaders reappeared before the 
capital the following year. By this time, it seems, 
Takarwutbi had secured other foreign aid, for the 
walls were successfully defended by Indian Mussul- 
man gunners. For a third time (1539) Tabeng 
invested the city, coming with an enormous force by 
the Sitang river and by land. How long the siege 
lasted does not appear, but that the Peguan king was 
sorely pressed is shown by the eagerness with which 
he hailed the first recorded appearance of the Portu- 
guese at his capital. He knew something of the 
white strangers, at all events by repute, for it will be 
remembered that Soabinya, who was still Viceroy of 
Martaban, had made a treaty with them some twenty 
years before, and probably trading relations had been 
opened up with the greater port. Indeed it was for 
commercial purposes, ostensibly at least, that they 
now appeared on the scene. The following is the 
Portuguese account of what happened : 

" The Viceroy sent Ferdinand de Morales with a great 
Galeon, laden on the King's account, to Trade at Pegu. 
As soon as arrived at that Port, the King won him with 
Promises and Favours, to aid him against the King of 
Brama, who invaded that Country with such a Power, that 
the two Armies consisted of two Millions of Men and 


10,000 Elephants. Morales went into a Galliot, and 
Commanding the Fleet of Pegu, made great havock among 
the Enemies Ships. Brama came on by Land like a 
Torrent, carrying all before him, and his Fleet covering 
the River, though as great as Ganges. With this Power he 
easily gained the City and Kingdom of Pegu. Ferdinand 
Morales met the Fleet with his, in respect of the other 
scarce visible, at the Point Ginamarreca, where was a 
furious, bloody and desperate Fight. But the Pegu's over- 
powered by the Brama's deserted Morales, who alone in 
his Galeot maintained himself against the Enemies, per- 
forming Wonders with vast slaughter of them, till oppressed 
by the Multitude he was killed. But the memory of his 
Bravery still lives among those People." 

Another more authoritative record attributes the 
fall of Pegu as due largely to the desertion of 
Takarwutbi's chief officers. 1 

1 Phayre, p. 94. Sousa, whose story of the fate of Morales is 
quoted above (vol. ii. p. 10), may be presumed to have learnt 
something official of his countryman's death, but he gives the 
following quaint account of the outbreak between Taungu and 
Pegu which does not synchronise with Sir Arthur Phayre's 
historical resume : " The cause of this Revolt of Brama, who 
was Tributary to Pegu, was this : Above 30000 Brama's laboured 
in the King of Pegu's Works, this being one Condition of their 
Vassalage. The King used to Visit them with his Women, 
because they delighted to see Foreigners and notable Works, 
and never carried any other Company. The Labourers (what 
Wickedness would not they in Idleness invent, who thought so 
much in their Labour) resolved to rob the Queens or Concu- 
bines, and suddenly murdered the King, stripped them and 
fled to their Country. Dacha Rupi, Heir to the deceased, was 
not only deprived of Means of Revenging this Villany, but even 
of maintaining himself, for many of his Subjexts rebelled." He 
then goes on to say that the Burmese king, taking advantage 


But whatever may have been the final stage of the 
conflict, this signal victory for the ambitious young 
king, who was thus transferred from a mountain fast- 
ness to an ancient throne, was in the main due to the 
capacity of his general Bureng Naung (Branginoco), 
who at once pursued Takarwutbi, the fugitive fleeing 
up the Irawadi to Prome, where he found an asylum 
with Narabadi. Having thus got rid of his rival, 
Tabeng again displayed his kingly qualities, and, 
instead of plundering the rich city and the delta 
generally, as a typical marauder of the time would 
have done, he set to work to conciliate the people 
and to bury the recollections of past feuds. But the 
presence of Takarwutbi at Prome constituted a 
danger, and it was determined to oust him. Mean- 
while the neighbouring potentates had taken alarm ; 
the Shan king of Ava and several chiefs combined to 
help Narabadi in what they felt to be a common 
cause ; and by the time that Tabeng and his vic- 
torious general appeared before the city they were 
confronted by a formidable array. For some reason 
a battle was avoided, and Tabeng, after capturing the 
King of Ava's boats, retired. In vain the unfortunate 
Takarwutbi urged his allies to fall upon the retreating 
army. In his despair he followed his enemies into 
the delta at the head of a small band of devoted 

of this opportunity, swept over the city and then the adjoining 
states. Dacha Rupi, no doubt, is intended for Takarwutbi, and 
we have already seen that he had been on the throne some 
thirteen years when his capital fell. Lieutenant-General Fytche, 
in his " Burma," adopts this story, and confuses Branginoco, 
the general, with Tabeng Shwehti, the king (vol. i. p. 42). 


followers, and was seen no more. Thus, about 1 540, 
disappeared the last of the line of Talaing kings 
founded by Wareru, circa 1300. 

Having secured the first great prize 

Sack of Martaban. . ' _, 

in his scheme of conquest, Tabeng cast 
his eyes upon the flourishing Viceroyalty of Martaban. 
He sent a summons to Soabinya, demanding his 
allegiance to the new order of things at the capital, 
and probably if the Viceroy had acknowledged the 
conqueror he would have been treated with considera- 
tion. But he had a large native force at his disposal, 
and doubtless many fugitives had found their way to 
Martaban, full of resentment and not yet rid of their 
national contempt for the hill prince, whose audacity 
was to them as much a matter of wonder as of fear. 
Moreover, Soabinya, who had doubtless heard of the 
gallant part taken by the Portuguese under Morales 
in defence of the capital, trusted to the prowess of 
his European allies. He refused the summons, and 
Tabeng, with his able general Bureng Naung, at once 
advanced. The defences of Martaban were on an 
elaborate scale. Earthworks and a deep ditch pro- 
tected the town on the land side, a number of 
European vessels, heavily armed and manned by 
Portuguese and Mussulmans, were on the sea front, 
and on the opposite side of the Salwin River (near 
the site of the present Maulmain) was a stockaded 
fort. The Burmese mobilised an immense army and 
collected a numerous fleet, enlisting at the same time 
a large number of mercenaries, including several 
hundred Portuguese, who, under the command of 
John Cayero (or Caeyro), do not appear to have 


hesitated to fight their own countrymen and their 
faithful commercial ally. The Commander of the 
Portuguese contingent in the city was Paulo de 
Seixas of Obidos, and he seems to have held a 
responsible position. The spectacle thus presented 
by the two bands of mercenaries, in whom each of 
the rival potentates reposed the utmost confidence, 
whilst flattering to the personal prowess of the 
adventurers, tells its own tale of the relations of 
Portugal with Burma ; the men were under no sort 
of control from either Malacca or Goa, either at this 
period or at any time. The city held out for no less 
than seven months, despite repeated assaults, till at 
last famine compelled Soabinya to sue for peace and 
accept the conqueror's terms ; these were merely that 
his life should be spared a promise which was not 
fulfilled. The flourishing city was sacked and burnt 
to the ground, the unfortunate inhabitants being 
slaughtered in thousands. Phayre, who states that 
the Burmese army numbered 130,000 men, fixes the 
date of the siege, according to the Burmese history, 
at 1540-1 ; the Portuguese account gives the date 


Ferdinand Mendes Pinto supplies us with some 
curious details in connection with the siege. 1 He 

1 Phayre, p. 265, has a good word to say for this extraordinary 
adventurer, whose reputation as chronicler and traveller has 
borne the weight of two centuries of obloquy. After quoting 
teh well-known sentence, " Ferdinand Mendez Pinto was but a 
type of thee, thou liar of the first magnitude" (Congreve's " Love 
for Love," act ii. scene v.)> Sir Arthur remarks that " his name 
has become, though unjustly, a byword for untruth fulness." 
He points out that Pinto does not make himself a hero, nor 


asserts that he arrived at Martaban as a messenger 
from Pedro de Faria, Governor of 'Malacca, to the 
Viceroy, with presents and letters to confirm the 
treaty and league of peace. Soabinya (whom he 
describes as the Chaubainhaa, a name, or title, 
adopted by Sousa), driven to desperation by his 
impending fate, offered Cayero, who was in command 
of 700 Portuguese, a great bribe to assist him and 
his family to escape. Seixas undertook the mission, 
penetrating the Burmese camp in disguise. He quite 
satisfied his countrymen as to the Viceroy's immense 
wealth, but personal jealousy appears to have pre- 
vented the plot. The spoil of the city, it seems, had 
been promised to the foreign leaguers, but Tabeng 
ordered the twenty-four gates to be strictly guarded 
for two days, during which the palace treasures were 
removed, and then by the firing of a signal gun the 
rapine and outrage commenced. Such was the rush 
of the motley crew from the Burmese camp that 300 
of the soldiery were crushed to death at the city 
gates, and during the three days of indescribable 
horrors Tabeng, or his general, was obliged to enter 
and interfere several times to appease the mercen- 
aries, who began to fall upon each other. By some 
means Seixas got out of the city with a native woman, 

does he exaggerate the wealth of the kings of Indo-China, and 
the strength of their armies, more than other sixteenth-century 
travellers, and adds : " The historical events he narrates, which 
can be compared with the native and other accounts, are 
correctly told." Cogan's translation of Pinto's " Voyages and 
Travels" (1653, ch. 49 et seq.) has been utilised for these 


whom he married at Coromandel. The unfortunate 
Viceroy had presented him with two valuable brace- 
lets, assumedly in recognition of faithful service, 
these, says Pinto with characteristic detail, he dis- 
posed of for 36,000 ducats, the dealers afterwards 
selling them to a native Governor of Narsinga for 
80,000 ducats. 

Soabinya's fate was a sad one. Dressed in black 
velvet, with head and eyebrows shaven, and mounted 
on a small elephant, the Viceroy, who was followed 
by a weeping procession consisting of his wife and 
four small children, the ladies of his court, and 
several native priests, was brought out of the city 
through a double line of soldiers. After the sack, 
Tabeng promptly executed the wretched wife and 
children, and no less than 140 of the ladies, hanging 
them by the feet to gallows erected on the summit of 
a hill. But this villainy proved too much for even the 
mercenaries, and caused such a commotion in camp 
as to have the effect of preserving the wretched 
Soabinya from some nameless torture ; the following 
night he and a number of his nobles were thrown into 
the sea with stones attached to their necks. 

In celebration of his victory Tabeng, 
on ^ s return > was solemnly consecrated 
as king, and he ordered new Htis to be 
placed on the two national pagodas. Prome was the 
next kingdom to fall into his hands. After driving the 
forces of the King of Ava to the very gates of the 
city, Tabeng fell back upon the ancient Burmese 
capital, Pagan, where, in pursuance of his great 
national enterprise, he was again declared king, 


Bureng Naung now being recognised as heir- 
apparent. Pinto, who tells his story with sundry 
quaint expressions of disgust at what he witnessed, 
went on the expedition to Prome, having been sent a 
prisoner to Pegu through the treachery of one 
Gonzalo Falcan, a fellow-countryman, at Martaban. 
He again supplies a catalogue of horrors occurring 
during the siege and at the fall of the city. The 
Queen, a woman of thirty-six years, was flogged to 
death, her husband (and nephew), a boy of thirteen 
years, being tied to her body and thrown into the 
river. Such were the experiences of the Portuguese 
mercenaries in these parts, and yet there appears to 
have been no lack of readiness to take service on one 
side or the other. 

After an insignificant and unsuccessful expedition 
against Arakan, a quarrel arose with Siam. In 1 548 
an immense army, including a company of about 180 
Portuguese under James Soarez de Melo, marched 
against Odia (Ayudha), the then capital, which is 
described as being no less than eight leagues in 
circumference. Here the Burmese met with a decided 
check. About fifty Portuguese, commanded by James 
Pereira, formed part of the garrison, and the walls 
were mounted with many guns of unusually heavy 
calibre. The siege dragged on ; it is stated that the 
invaders endeavoured to induce Pereira to desert his 
post but without effect, and at last they were com- 
pelled to make a disastrous retreat out of the 
country. 1 This signal reverse had the worst effect 

1 Phayre, who calculates that the operations lasted five 
months, points out that the besiegers were in the end glad to 


upon Tabeng, who, although he had enjoyed a 
brilliant reign of eighteen years, was still only about 
thirty- four years of age. Giving himself up to all 
kinds of dissipation, he made a boon companion of a 
nephew of Soarez till the general, Bureng Naung, 
still faithful to his master, expelled the young man 
from the country. In this state of affairs a scion of 
the Talaing Royal House, Thaminhtoa, who is known 
in the Portuguese chronicles as Xemindoo, raised a 
rebellion in the city of Pegu, but it was soon crushed. 
The career of Tabeng Shwehti, however, was now 
nearing its close, and it is singular that the end was 
brought about by a member of the deposed race to 
whom, in his better days, he himself had allowed 
some measure of power, which had been continued. 
He was invited by the Governor of Sitang to witness 
the capture of an elephant in the jungle, when he was 
set upon and assassinated. 1 

The object of this somewhat lengthy 
Bureng Naung'8 rev j ew o f Burmese history has been to 


illustrate the foundation of an empire 
which was near the height of its power when the first 
Englishman visited it, and also to afford a passing 
glance at the position of the Portuguese who claimed 

treat with the Siamese, which they were the better able to do 
as they had captured the king's son-in-law. He states that 
the invasion was provoked by an incursion of a Siamese force 
in Tavoy (p. 101). 

1 The name or title of the Governor, according to Phayre 
(p. 102), was Thaminsoadwut. Sousa (vol. ii. p. 136) calls him 
the Ximi de Zatan, and adds, " Ximi is equivalent to a Duke, 
and he really was one of Satan's creating." 


supremacy in all these seas. A very brief outline 
will therefore suffice of the long and prosperous 
reign of Bureng Naung (Branginoco), who, although 
he was undoubtedly the chief means of Tabeng's 
successes in his scheme of conquest, only completed, 
as king, the work of Burmese supremacy already 

The city of Pegu having fallen into the hands of 
the Governor of Sitang through the cowardice of his 
brother, Bureng Naung retired to Taungu to prepare 
for what proved to be another brilliant series of con- 
quests. Meantime the other Talaing pretender, 
Thaminhtoa (Xemindoo), captured the usurper of 
Sitang and beheaded him, assuming royal honours in 
his stead. Bureng Naung lost no time in vindicating 
his claim to the throne. Having secured Taungu, 
Prome, and all the country up to Pagan, he marched 
on Pegu (1551) and, encountering his rival outside 
the walls, defeated him. Thaminhtoa fled for his life, 
reaching Martaban in an open boat, but eventually 
fell into the hands of his enemy, who treated him 
with contumely. Pinto, in an account of his execu- 
tion, says Xemindoo was mounted on a sorry jade 
with the executioner riding behind him, a straw crown 
decorated with mussel shells was placed on his head, 
and he wore an iron collar trimmed with onions. 
Sousa adds a touch of pathos to the story : 
" Xemindoo fled to the Mountains, where he 
married a poor Fellows Daughter. He discovered 
himself to her, and she revealed it to her Father, at 
such time as great Rewards were proposed to such as 
should discover him. The Father-in-Law delivered 



him up to the King, who cut off his Head." J The 
new conqueror, having had himself consecrated 
" King of Kings," with his eldest son as heir- 
apparent, sent one of his brothers as king tributary 
to Martaban. His next great exploit was to rid the 
old Burmese throne of Ava of its Shan occupant, 
the city being taken by assault in 1555. It is remark- 
able that in this expedition, which was undertaken, 
ostensibly, to help the Shan king to suppress a rebel 
at Monyin, he is said to have had " a bodyguard of 
400 Portuguese, dressed in uniform and armed with 
arquebuses." With characteristic pride Sousa (vol. ii. 
p. 237) retails another story to show the high esteem in 
which his fellow-countrymen were held. During the 
absence of the King of Kings a rebellion broke out 
in Pegu city, and the Queen was obliged to fly to the 
castle, where she was protected by thirty-nine Portu- 
guese. On his return, Bureng Naung sent for the 
men who defended the Queen, and the officer 
" brought him some Moors of Note ; but the King, 
knowing the Portuguese were the men, said in Anger, 
1 I sent you for Men, and you bring me Cowards ; Go 
bring me Men.' " The Portuguese were then rewarded 
" with riches, Praises, and Honour." 

With the exception of a campaign in Zimme 
(1558), which resulted in that country being placed 
under tribute, the whole empire remained at peace 
till 1562. In the meantime Bureng Naung had 

1 Vol. ii. p. 137. Phayre (p. 105) states that Thaminhtoa, or 
Xemindoo (" Shemindoo," as Fitch calls him), is recognised in 
the Talaing chronicles as Zaggali Meng ; he was the last 
reigning Peguan Prince. 


beautified his capital so that it became the admira- 
tion of all European visitors. He prohibited certain 
barbarous rites among the Shans, forbade his own 
people to worship Nats or familiars, and endeavoured 
generally to re-establish a higher form of Buddhism 
throughout the country. Caesar Frederick, who 
visited the capital a few years later (1569), gives 
an enthusiastic description of the sovereign's 
power and magnificence. He states, " This king 
of Pegu hath not any army or power by sea, but 
in the land, for people, dominions, golde and silver, 
he farre exceeds the power of the great Turke in 
treasure and strength." It was, however, his great 
desire to acquire one of the four sacred white 
elephants in possession of the King of Siam which 
led him, in spite of the disastrous experience of the 
previous reign, to launch an expedition against that 
kingdom in 1563. A huge force swept down the 
valley of the Menam in four divisions, and by 
March, 1564, the capital had fallen, Bramahin, son of 
the deposed potentate, being placed on the throne 
as tributary king. Another expedition against Zimme 
followed in the same year, but during Bureng Naung's 
absence two rebellious outbreaks occurred in the city 
of Pegu, the second and more serious one being led 
by a Shan captive. The King of Kings, who had by 
this time again subdued Zimme, returned and was so 
enraged against the Peguan rebels that he ordered al 
the prisoners and their families to be placed in a 
huge wicker-work building and burnt to death. But, 
so far as one can judge from the records of his reign 
Bureng Naung, personally, had no predilection for 


torture and outrage, and in this instance he eventually 
forgave all the rebels but their leaders. 

Another period of peace followed, 

Last Conquest. , , , . ' 

Death of Branginoco, and was only broken as the result of 
Bureng Naung's magnanimity. The 
ex-king of Siam, having become a devotee, was 
allowed to return home to worship, taking with him 
the widow and children of his younger son. Bra- 
mahin, finding that the conqueror now held no 
hostages, threw off the suzerainty, with the result 
that in 1 568 another great Burmese force came down 
upon Odia (Ayudha) and invested it. After a siege 
of four months the city again fell, and this time was 
sacked. One account states that the victory was 
won by a trick. A Siamese noble of high rank, who 
was in the invading army, pretended to desert and 
appeared before Bramahin with chains on his legs. 
He was warmly received and given an important 
command, which he, of course, betrayed. The King 
of Kings returned to Pegu after this, his final, conquest 
in 1 570. The empire, which extended from the Shan 
hill country in the north to the capital of Siam in 
the south-east, was at peace, with the exception of 
insignificant enterprises, for the next ten years, for 
Bureng Naung now occupied an impregnable position. 
There was only one country left unconquered which 
had formerly acknowledged Burmese sway. This 
was Arakan, which lay beyond the western hills, and 
to complete the task begun by Tabeng he determined 
0579) to subdue it, commencing operations by de- 
spatching a formidable fleet. On the way to the 
western coast the Burmese force beat off several 


Portuguese vessels which tried to bar its progress, 
and the invaders landed at Sandoway in readiness 
for Bureng Naung's arrival. But, after waiting more 
than a year, the expedition so auspiciously begun 
was suddenly interrupted by the news of the king's 
death, in November, 1581. 

Thus ended the thirty years' reign of Bureng 
Naung (Branginoco), who died at the zenith of his 
glory, and whose capital city of Pegu had become 
one of the greatest centres of wealth and commerce 
in the Further East. His characteristics, exhibited 
throughout a career which began in the obscure 
Taungu valley and reached its object, the throne of 
an empire, have been but faintly indicated in this 
necessarily condensed account of a phase of Eastern 
history which is not well known even in our own 
time. As to its romance and astonishing results, we 
may find some- parallel to the story of Bureng Naung 
in that of Alaunghpra (Alompra), with whom we 
Britishers came into contact at a later period ; but 
for the solid qualities of the conquering and adminis- 
trative ruler Bureng Naung stands alone in the 
Burmese annals. With regard to the mysterious 
Portuguese strangers, he succeeded in a line of policy 
which, so far as he could comprehend it, was the best 
for his country. He welcomed them as general and 
sovereign, but it was only to make use of them, and 
to him they were hirelings nothing more. 




IN continuing his adventurous journey still further 
east, Master Ralph Fitch won for himself the 
title of the first Englishman in Burma an honour 
which we in these days are better able to appreciate 
than were his contemporaries. Sailing from the 
Sunderbunds down the coast of Arakan, he tells us 
he crossed the bar of Negrais and, visiting several 
places in the Irawadi delta en route, he appears to 
have spent some time in the city both in 1587 and 
on his return from Malacca in 1588. At this time 
Nanda Bureng, who succeeded his father, the power- 
ful Branginoco, in 1581, was on the throne, and, 
according to the records, had just commenced the 
series of ill-directed attempts upon Siam which led 
to the ruin of the glorious capital described by Fitch, 
the eventual devastation of the whole surrounding 
region and his own captivity and death at Taungu 
in 1 599, after a reign of eighteen years. The early 



European predecessors of the British traveller who 
left any record of their impressions of Burma or 
Pegu are but few in number. They come in the 
following order as to date, namely, Marco Polo, at 
the end of the thirteenth century ; Nicolo di Conti, 
a Venetian, at the beginning of the fifteenth ; Atha- 
nasius Nikitin of Twer, a Russian, 1468-74 ; Hiero- 
nimo di Santo Stefano, a Genoese, 1496 ; Lewes 
Vertomannus (Varthema), of Rome, who speaks of 
Armenians and Nestorians as being in Pegu, 1 503-4. 
After the opening up of the Cape route and the 
trafficking with the Portuguese, referred to in the 
preceding chapter, comes Caesar Frederick, the 
Venetian, about 1 567-9, whose account of the great 
city as he saw it in Branginoco's days (preserved by 
both Hakluyt and Purchas) is full of interest. 
Fitch's immediate predecessor was Gasparo Balbi, 
a Venetian jeweller, who arrived in 1583, and who 
has also left a graphic record. As to the ruin of the 
country soon after the return of our traveller, Nicolas 
Pimenta, a Portuguese priest who came in 1598, 
gives some account. 1 

1 For the various references see Phayre, chap. xxii. ; Major's 
" India in the Fifteenth Century" (Hakluyt Society) for Conti 
and Nikitin ; " The Travels of Ludovico di Varthema," by Mr. 
Winter Jones and the Rev. G. Percy Badger (Hakluyt Society). 
Balbi states that he left Aleppo in December, 1579, and, follow- 
ing the usual route to Goa, continued his journey via Cochin, 
Cananor, Ceylon, Negapatan, and St. Thomas. He crossed the 
bar of Negrais in September, 1583, and gives an interesting 
account of his voyage through the delta and a description of 
the capital (Purchas, 1625, vol. ii. book x., which also contains 
the narrative of Pimenta). 


The modern town of Pegu, which lies close to the 
bank of the river of the same name, is forty-six miles 
north-east of Rangoon. It occupies portion of the 
site of the old city, and in 1881 had a population of 
only 5,891. In his " Embassy to Ava" Symes states 
that the extent of ancient Pegu could be accurately 
traced by the ditch and wall : " from these it appears 
to have been a quadrangle, each side measuring 
nearly a mile and a half." He estimated the breadth 
of the ditch at 60 yards, and the depth 10 or 12 feet ; 
the height of the wall he conjectured at 30 feet at 
least, and the breadth at the base not less than 40 feet ; 
it was built of brick with bastions about 300 yards 
apart, and a parapet of masonry. The Great Pagoda, 
founded according to tradition more than two thou- 
sand years ago, is still a conspicuous object, and 
according to Hunter, the Shwe-maw-daw at Pegu is 
held in greater veneration by the Talaings than the 
Shwe-Dagon at Rangoon. Symes writes of it : 
" This extraordinary pile of buildings is erected on a 
double terrace, one raised upon another ; the lower 
and greater terrace is about 10 feet above the 
natural level of the ground, forming an exact paral- 
lelogram ; the upper and lesser terrace is similar in 
shape, and rises about 20 feet above the lower 
terrace, or 30 above the level of the country. I 
judged a side of the lower terrace to be 1,391 feet; 
of the upper, 684." The temple .he describes as of 
brick and mortar, octagonal at the base and spiral 
at the top, each side of the base measuring 162 feet. 
Fifty-seven small spires are placed on a ledge near 
the base, and fifty-three more on a higher ledge. 


The whole is surmounted by a gilt " tee " (hti), or 
umbrella, which is to be seen on every sacred build- 
ing, and the extreme height of the edifice from the 
ground is 361 feet. The title " Shoemadoo," or 
Golden Supreme, he suggests comes from " Shoe," or 
"Shce," golden, and " Madoo," a corruption of 
" Mahadeva," or deo. 1 It is scarcely necessary to 
add that the present centre of government and 
national life on this coast is the flourishing modern 
city of Rangoon, which was also founded by a native 
conqueror under circumstances not less stirring than 
those recorded in the preceding pages. Master 
Fitch's journal of this portion of his travels is full 
of life and movement, and panoramic in its 


" I went from Serrepore the 28. of 
Nouember 1586. for Pegu in a small 
ship or foist of one Albert Carauallos, 
and so passing downe Ganges, and 
Sundiua island. passing by the Island of Sundiua, porto 
Grande, or the countrie of Tippera, the 
kingdom of Recon and Mogen, leaning 
them on our left side with a faire wind 
at Northwest : our course was South & 
by East, which brought vs to the barre 
of Negrais in Pegu : if any contrary 
wind had come, we had throwen many 
of our things ouer-boord : for we were 

1 "Embassy to Ava," by Lieut.-Col. Symes (1800). The 
mission took place in 1795. 





Ladders vsed to 
auoycl the danger 
of wild beasts. 

so pestered with people & goods, that 
there was scant place to lie in. From 
Bengala to Pegu is 90. leagues. We 
entred the barre of Negrais, which is 
a braue barre & hath 4. fadomes of 
water where it hath least. Three dayes 
after we came to Cosmin, which is a 
very pretie towne, and standeth very 
pleasantly, very well furnished with all 
things. 1 The people be very tall & well 
disposed ; the women white, round faced, 
with little eies : the houses are high built, 
set vpon great high postes, & they go 
vp to them with long ladders for feare 
of the Tygers which be very many. 
The countrey is very fruitful of all 
things. Here are very great Figs, 
Orenges, Cocoes, and other fruits. The 
land is very high that we fall withall, 
but after we be entred the barre, it is 
very lowe and full of riuers, for they 
goe all too and fro in boates, which 
Dwelling in boats, they call paroes, and keepe their houses 
with wife and children in them. 

" From the barre of Nigrais to the 

1 Cosmin, a corruption of Kusimanagara, now the important 
town and port of Bassein, Burma, situated on both banks of the 
Bassein river in the Irawadi delta, seventy-five miles from the 
sea. It is said to have been founded by a Talaing or Peguan 
princess in 1249. It is difficult, if not impossible, to identify 
all the places Fitch mentions in the delta. The changes in 
the district have been great ; as Hunter puts it, he and other 
travellers " found Rangoon a village." 


citie of Pegu is ten dayes iourney by 
the riuers. Wee went from Cosmin to 
Pegu in Paroes or boates, and passing 
vp the riuers wee came to Medon, 
which is a prety towne, where there 
be a wonderfull number of Paroes, for 
they keepe their houses and their 
markets in them all vpon the water. 
They rowe too and fro, and haue all 
their marchandizes in their boates with 
a great Sombrero or shadow ouer their 
heads to keepe the sunne from them, 
which is as broad as a great cart wheele 
made of the leaues of the Coco trees 
and fig trees, and is very light. 

" From Medon we went to Dela, 
which is a very faire towne, and hath a 
faire port into the sea, from whence go 
many ships to Malacca, Mecca, and 
many other places. Here are 18. or 20. 
very great and long houses, where they 
tame and keep many elephants of the 
kings : for there about in the wildernesse 
they catch the wilde elephants. It is a 
very fruitfull countrey. From Dela we 
cirion. went to Cirion, which is a good towne, 

and hath a faire porte into the sea, 
whither come many ships from Mecca, 
Malacca, Sumatra, and from diuers other 
places. 1 And there the ships staie 

1 Cirion, Syriam, or Than-Lyin, on the left bank of the Pegu 
river and about three miles from its mouth (H.). This was the 


and discharge, & send vp their goods in 
Faroes to Pegu. From Cirion we went 

Macao. to Macao, 1 which is a pretie towne, 

where we left our boats or Faroes, 
& in the morning taking Delingeges, 

coches carried on which are a kind of Coches made of 

mens shoulders. 

cords & cloth quilted, & caned vpon a 
stang 2 betweene 3. or 4. men : we came 
to Pegu the same day.s 

Pegu. " Pegu is a citie very great, strong, 

! and very faire, with walles of stone, and 
great ditches round about it. There 
are two townes, the old towne and the 
newe. In the old towne are all the 
marchants strangers, and very many 
marchants of the countrey. All the 
goods are sold in the olde towne which 
is very great, and hath many suburbes 
round about it, and all the houses are 
made of Canes which they call Bambos 

scene of the exploits of Philip de Brito, a Portuguese adventurer, 
who for a time dominated the whole delta. 

1 Meh-Kay (?). 2 Or pole. 

3 Referring to the journey through the delta, Lieut. -General 
Fytche in his " Burma," vol. i. p. 1 1, makes the following 
interesting comment : " Singular enough, I traversed myself 
probably the very same route through these creeks while in 
pursuit of some marauding bands, during the second Burmese 
war, and was the second Englishman that had done so. At 
least, there is no record of any other having gone this route 
during the interval. The passage had become much blocked 
up from disuse and the banks overgrown with trees, which had 
to be cleared in many parts before the gunboats could pass 


and bee couered with strawe. In your 
house you haue a Warehouse which 
they call Godon, 1 which is made of 
bricke to put your goods in, for often- 
times they take fire and burne in an 
houre foure or fiue hundred houses : so 
that if the Godon were not, you should 
bee in danger to haue all burned, if any 
winde should rise, at a trice. In the 
newe towne is the king, and all his 
Nobilitie and Gentrie. It is a citie 
very great and populous, and is made 
square and with very faire walles, and a 
great ditch round about it full of water, 
with many crocodiles in it : it hath 
twenty gates, and they bee made of 
stone, for euery square fiue gates. 
There are also many Turrets for 
Centinels to watch, made of wood, and 
gilded with golde very faire. The 
streets are the fairest that euer I saw, 
as straight as a line from one gate to 
the other, and so broad that tenne or 
twelue men may ride a front thorow 
them. On both sides of them at euery 
mans doore is set a palmer tree which 
is the nut tree, which make a very faire 
shew and a very commodious shadow, 
so that a man may walke in the shade 
all day. The houses be made of wood, 
and couered with tiles. The kings 
house is in the middle of the city, and 

1 Or godown. 


Foure white 

The king of the 
white elephants. 


is walled and ditched round about : and 
the buildings within are made of wood 
very sumptuously gilded, and great 
workemanship is vpon the forefront, 
which is likewise very costly gilded. 
And the house wherein his Pagode or 
idole standeth is couered with tiles of 
siluer, and all the walles are gilded with 
golde. Within the first gate of the 
kings house is a great large roome, on 
both sides whereof are houses made for 
the kings elephants, which be maruel- 
lous great and faire, and are brought up 
to warres and in seruice of the king. 
And among the rest he hath foure 
white elephants, which are very strange 
and rare : for there is none other king 
which hath them but he : if any other 
king hath one, hee will send vnto him 
for it. When any of these white 
elephants is brought vnto the king, 
all the merchants in the city are 
commanded to see them, and to giue 
him a present of halfe a ducat, which 
doth come to a great summe : for that 
there are many merchants in the city. 
After that you haue giuen your present 
you may come and see them at your 
pleasure, although they stand in the 
kings house. This king in his title is 
called the king of the white elephants. 
If any other king haue one, and will 


not send it him, he will make warre 
with him for it : for he had rather lose 
a great part of his kingdome, then not 
to conquere him. They do very great 
seruice vnto these white elephants ; 
euery one of them standeth in an house 
gilded with golde, and they doe feede 
in vessels of siluer and gilt. One of 
them when he doth go to the riuer to 
be washed, as euery day they do, goeth 
vnder a canopy of cloth of golde or of 
silke carried ouer him by sixe or eight 
men, and eight or ten men goe before 
him playing on drummes, shawmes, or 
other instruments : and when he is 
washed and commeth out of the riuer, 
there is a gentleman which doth wash 
his feet in a siluer basin : which is his 
office giuen him by the king. There is 
no such account made of any blacke 
elephant, be he neuer so great. And 
surely there be woonderfull faire and 
great, and some be nine cubites in 
height. And they do report that the 
king hath aboue flue thousand elephants 
of warre, besides many other which be 
not taught to fight. 

" This king hath a very large place 
wherein he taketh the wilde elephants. 
It standeth about a mile from Pegu, 
builded with a faire court within, and is 
in a great groue or wood : and there be 


many huntsmen, which go into the 
wildernesse with the elephants : for 
without the she they are not to be 
taken. And they be taught for that 
purpose : and euery hunter hath flue or 
sixe of them : and they say that they 
anoint the she elephants with a certaine 
ointment, which when the wild elephant 
doth smell, he will not leaue her. 
When they haue brought the wilde 
elephant neere vnto the place, they 
send word vnto the towne, and many 
horsemen and footmen come out and 
cause the she elephant to enter into a 
strait way which doeth go to the palace, 
and the she and he do runne in : for it 
is like a wood : and when they be in, 
the gate doth shut. Afterward they 
get out the female : and when the male 
seeth that he is left alone, he weepeth 
and crieth, and runneth against the 
walles, which be made of so strong trees, 
that some of them doe break their teeth 
with running against them. Then they 
pricke him with sharpe canes, & cause 
him to go into a strait house, and there 
they put a rope about his middle and 
about his feet, and let him stand there 
three or foure dayes without eating or 
drinking : and then they bring a female 
to him, with meat and drinke, and 
within few dayes he becommeth tame. 


The chiefe force of the king is in these 
elephants. And when they go into the 
vvarres they set a frame of wood vpon 
their backes, bound with great cordes, 
within sit foure or sixe men, which fight 
with gunnes, bowes and arrowes, darts 
and other weapons. And they say that 
their skinnes are so thicke that a pellet 
of an harquebush will scarce pearce 
them, except it be in some tender 
place. Their weapons be very badde. 
They haue gunnes, but shoot very badly 
in them, darts and swordes short with- 
out points. 

"The king keepeth a very great state : 
when he sitteth abroad as he doth 
euery day twise, all his noble men which 
they call Shemines sit on ech side, a 
good distance off, and a great guard 
without them. The Court yard is very 
great. If any man will speake with the 
king, he is to kneele downe, to heaue vp 
his hands to his head, and to put his 
head to the ground three times, when 
he entreth, in the middle way, and when 
he commeth neere to the king : and then 
he sitteth downe and talketh with the 
king : if the king like well of him, he 
sitteth neere him within three or foure 
paces : if he thinke not well of him, he 
sitteth further off. When he goeth to 
warre, he goeth very strong. At my 



odia a city in siam. being there he went to Odia in the 
countrey of Siam with three hundred 
thousand men, and fiue thousand ele- 
phants. Thirty thousand men were his 
guard. These people do eate roots, 
herbs, leaues, dogs, cats, rats, serpents, 
and snakes; they refuse almost nothing. 
When the king rideth abroad, he rideth 
with a great guard, and many noblemen, 
oftentimes vpon an elephant with a fine 
castle vpon him very fairly gilded with 
gold ; and sometimes vpon a great frame 
like an horsliter, which hath a little 
house vpon it couered ouer head, but 
open on the sides, which is all gilded with 
golde, & set with many rubies and sap- 
hires, whereof he hath infinite store in 
his country, and is caried vpon sixteene 
or eighteene mens shoulders. This coach 
in their language is called Serrion. Very 
great feasting and triumphing is many 
times before the king both of men and 
women. This king hath little force by 
Sea, because hee hath but very few 
ships. He hath houses full of golde 
and siluer, and bringeth in often, but 
spendeth very little, and hath the mines 
of rubies and saphires, and spinelles. 

" Neere vnto the palace of the king, 
there is a treasure woonderfull rich ; the 
which because it is so neere, he doth not 
account of it : and it standeth open for 

This maner of 
cariage on mens 
shoulders is vsed 
in Peru, and in 


all men to see in a great walled court 
with two gates, which be alwayes open. 
There are foure houses gilded very 
richly, and couered with leade : in 
euery one of them are Pagodes or 
images of huge stature and great value. 
In the first is the picture of a king in 
golde with a crowne of golde on his 
head full of great rubies and saphires, 
and about him there stand foure chil- 
dren of golde. In the second house is 
the picture of a man in siluer woonderfull 
great, as high as an house ; his foot is as 
long as a man, and he is made sitting, 
with a crowne on his head very rich 
with stones. In the third house is the 
picture of a man greater then the other, 
made of brasse, with a rich crowne on 
his head. In the fourth and last house 
doth stand another, made of brasse 
greater then the other, with a crowne 
also on his head very rich with stones. 
In another court not farre from this 
stand foure other Pagodes or idoles, 
maruellous great, of copper, made in the 
same place where they do stand ; for 
they be so great that they be not to be 
remooued : they stand in foure houses 
gilded very faire, and are themselues 
gilded all ouer saue their heads, and 
they shew like a blacke Morian. Their 
expences in gilding of their images are 


wonderfull. 1 The king hath one wife 
and aboue three hundred concubines, by 
which they say he hath fourescore or 
fourescore and ten children. He sitteth 
in iudgment almost euery day. They 
vse no speech, but giue vp their suppli- 

Paperoftheieaues cations written in the leaues of a tree 
"""with the point of an yron bigger then a 
bodkin. These leaues are an elle long, 
and about two inches broad ; they are 
also double. He which giueth in his 
supplication, doth stand in a place a 
little distance off with a present. If his 
matter be liked of, the king accepteth of 
his present, and granteth his request : if 
his sute be not liked of, he returneth 
with his present ; for the king will not 
take it. 

" In India there are few commodities 
which serue for Pegu, except Opium of 
Cambaia, painted cloth of S. Thome, or 
of Masulipatan, and white cloth of 
Bengala, which is spent there in great 
quantity. They bring thither also much 

An excellent colour cotton yame red coloured with a root 

with a root called . . . , . n r* 1-1 -11 

Saia< which they call Saia, which will neuer 

lose his colour : it is very wel solde 
here, and very much of it commeth 
yerely to Pegu. By your mony you 
lose much. The ships which come from 
Bengala, S. Thome, and Masulipatan, 
1 Possibly Fitch refers to the national Pagoda at Pegu. 



Woollen cloth and 
scarlets soldo in 

The money of 

come to the bar of Nigrais and to 
Cosmin. To Martauan a port of the 
sea in the kingdome of Pegu come many 
ships from Malacca laden with Sandall, 
Porcelanes? and other wares of China, 
and with Camphora of Borneo, and 
Pepper from Achen in Sumatra. To 
Cirion a port of Pegu come ships from 
Mecca with woollen cloth, Scarlets, 
Veluets, Opium, and such like. There 
are in Pegu eight Brokers, whom they 
call Tareghe, which are bound to sell 
your goods at the price which they be 
woorth, and you giue them for their 
labour two in the hundred : and they be 
bound to make your debt good, because 
you sell your marchandises vpon their 
word. If the Broker pay you not at his 
day, you may take him home, and 
keepe him in your house : which is a 
great shame for him. And if he pay 
you not presently, you may take his 
wife and children and his slaues, and 
binde them at your doore, and set them 
in the Sunne ; for that is the law of the 
countrey. Their current money in these 
parts is a kinde of brasse which they 
call Gansa, wherewith you may buy 
golde, siluer, rubies, muske, and all 
other things. The golde and siluer is 
marchandise, and is worth sometimes 
more, and sometimes lesse, as other wares 


be. This brasen money doeth goe by 

a weight which they- call a biza; and 

commonly this biza after our account is 

' worth about halfe a crowne or somewhat 

The seueraii mer- lesse. The marchandise which be in 

chandises of Pegu. ^ i i M i i 

Pegu, are golde, siluer, rubies, saphires, 
spinelles, muske, beniamim or franck- 
incense, long pepper, tinne, leade, 
copper, lacca whereof they make hard 
ware, rice, and wine made of rice, and 
some sugar. The elephants doe eate 
the sugar canes, or els they would make 
very much. And they consume many 
canes likewise in making of their 
Varellaes or I dole temples, which are 
in great number both great and small. 

Vare'iiaes. some are as high as a Church, very 

broad beneath, some a quarter of a mile 
in compasse : within they be all earth 
done about with stone. They consume 
in these Varellaes great quantity of 
golde ; for that they be all gilded aloft : 
and many of them from the top to the 
bottome : and euery ten or twelue 
yeeres they must be new gilded, because 
the rain consumeth off the golde : for 
they stand open abroad. If they did 
not consume their golde in these vanities, 
it would be very plentifull and good 
cheape in Pegu. 

" About two dayes iourney from 


Pegu there is a Varelle or Pagode, 
which is the pilgrimage of the Pegues : 
it is called Dogonne, and is of a woon- 
derfull bignesse, and all gilded from 
the foot to the toppe. 1 And there is an 
The Taiiipoies or house by it wherein the Tallipoies 
Pegu> which are their Priests doe preach. 
This house is fiue and fifty paces in 
length, and hath three pawnes or walks 
in it, and forty great pillars gilded, 
which stand betweene the walks ; and 
it is open on all sides with a number of 
small pillars, which be likewise gilded : 
it is gilded with golde within and 
without. There are houses very faire 
round about for the pilgrims to lie in : 
and many goodly houses for the Talli- 
poies to preach in, which are full of 
images both of men and women, which 
are all gilded ouer with golde. It is the 
fairest place, as I suppose, that is in the 
world : it standeth very high, and there 
are foure wayes to it, which all along 
are set with trees of fruits, in such wise 
that a man man goe in the shade aboue 
two miles in length. And when their 
feast day is, a man can hardly passe by 
water or by land for the great presse of 
people ; for they come from all places 
of the kingdome of Pegu thither at their 
1 The great Shwe-Dagon Pagoda at Rangoon. 


" In Pegu they haue many Tallipoies 
or priests, which preach against all 
abuses. Many men resort vnto them. 
When they enter into their kiack, that is 
to say, their holy place or temple, at the 
doore there is a great iarre of water with 
a cocke or a ladle in it, and there they 
wash their feet ; and then they enter in, 
and lift vp their hands to their heads 
first to their preacher, and then to the 
Theappareii Sunne, and so sit downe. The Talli- 

their priests, . . .. . . . 

poies go very strangely apparelled with 
one camboline or thinne cloth next to 
their body of a browne colour, another 
of yellow doubled many times vpon 
their shoulder : and those two be girded 
to them with a broad girdle : and they 
haue a skinne of leather hanging on a 
string about their necks, whereupon 
they sit, bare headed & bare footed ; 
for none of them weareth shooes ; with 
their right armes bare and a great broad 
sombrero or shadow in their hands to 
defend them in the Summer from the 
Sunne, and in the Winter from the 
raine. When the Tallipoies or priests 
take their Orders, first they go to 
schoole vntill they be twenty yeres 
olde or more, and then they come 
before a Tallipoie appointed for that 
purpose, whom they call Rowli : he is 
of the chiefest and most learned, and 


he opposeth them, and afterward 
examineth them many times, whether 
they will leaue their friends, and the 
company of all women, and take vpon 
them the habit of a Tallipoie. If any 
be content, then he rideth vpon an 
horse about the streets very richly 
apparelled, with drummes and pipes, to 
shew that he leaueth the riches of the 
world to be a Tallipoie. In few daies 
after, he is caried vpon a thing like an 
horstliter, which they call a serion, 
vpon ten or twelue mens shoulders in 
the apparell of a Tallipoie, with pipes 
and drummes, and many Tallipoies with 
him, and al his friends, and so they go 
with him to his house, which standeth 
without the towne, and there they leaue 
him. Euery one of them hath his 
house, which is very little, set vpon 
six or eight posts, and they go vp to 
them with a ladder of twelue or foure- 
teene staues. Their houses be for the 
most part by the hie wayes side, and 
among the trees, and in the woods. 
And they go with a great pot made of 
wood or fine earth, and couered, tied 
with a broad girdle vpon their shoulder, 
which commeth vnder their arme, 
wherewith they go to begge their 
victuals which they eate, which is rice, 
fish, and herbs. They demand nothing, 


of new moones. 

lamahey fiue & 
twenty dayes 
iourney North- 
eastward from 


but come to the doore, and the people 
presently doe giue them, some one 
thing and some another : and they put 
all together in their potte : for they say 
they must eate of their almes, and there- 
with content themselues. They keepe 
their feasts by the Moone : and when it 
is new Moone they keepe their greatest 
feast : and then the people send rice 
and other things to that kiack or church 
of which they be ; and there all the 
Tallipoies doe meete which be of that 
Church, and eate the victuals which are 
sent them. When the Tallipoies do 
preach, many of the people cary them 
gifts into the pulpit where they sit and 
preach. And there is one which sitteth 
by them to take that which the people 
bring. It is diuided among them. They 
haue none other ceremonies nor seruice 
that I could see, but onely preaching. 

" I went from Pegu to lamahey, 
which is in the countrey of the Lan- 
geiannes, whom we call langomes ; it 
is flue and twenty dayes iourney north- 
east from Pegu. 1 In which iourney I 
passed many fruitfull and pleasant 
countreys. The countrey is very lowe, 
and hath many faire riuers. The houses 
are very bad, made of canes, and couered 
with straw. Heere are many wilde 
Zimme in the Siamese Shan states. 


buffes and elephants. lamahey is a 
very faire and great towne, with faire 
houses of stone, well peopled, the streets 
are very large, the men very well set 
and strong, with a cloth about them, 
bare headed and bare footed : for in all 
these countreys they weare no shooes. 
The women be much fairer then those 
of Pegu. Heere in all these countreys 
they haue no wheat. They make some 
cakes of rice. Hither to lamahey come 
many marchants out of China, and bring 
great store of muske, golde, siluer, and 
many other things of China worke. 
Here is great store of victuals : they 
haue such plenty that they will not 
milke the buffles, as they doe in all 
other places. Here is great store of 
copper and beniamin. In these coun- 
treys when the people be sicke they 
make a vow to offer meat vnto the 
diuell, if they escape : and when they 
be recouered they make a banket with 
many pipes & drummes and other 
instruments, and dansing all the night 
and their friends come and bring gifts, 
cocos, figges, arracaes, and other fruits, 
and with great dauncing and reioycing 
they offer to the diuell, and say, they 
giue the diuel to eat, and driue him out. 
When they be dancing and playing they 
will cry & hallow very loud ; and in this 



They burne their 

Caplan is the 
place where the 
rubies and other 
precious stones 
are found. 

sort they say they driue him away, 
And when they be sicke a Tallipoy or 
two euery night doth sit by them & 
sing, to please the diuell that he should 
not hurt them. And if any die he is 
caried vpon a great frame made like a 
tower, with a couering all gilded with 
golde made of canes caried with 
foureteene or sixteene men, with 
drummes and pipes and other instru- 
ments playing before him to a place 
out of the towne and there is burned. 
He is accompanied with all his friends 
and neighbours, all men : and they giue 
to the tallipoies or priests many mats 
and cloth : and then they returne to the 
house and there make a feast for two 
dayes: and then the wife with all the 
neighbours wiues & her friends go to 
the place where he was burned, and 
there they sit a certaine time add cry and 
gather the pieces of bones which be left 
unburned and bury them, and then 
returne to their houses and make an 
end of all mourning. And the men 
and women which be neere of kin do 
shaue their heads, which they do not vse 
except it be for the death of a friend : 
for they much esteeme their haire. 

" Caplan is the place where they finde 
the rubies, saphires, and spinelles : it 
standeth sixe dayes iourney from Aua 


in the kingdome of Pegu. There are 
many great high hilles out of which 
they digge them. None may go to 
the pits but onely those which digge 
them. 1 ...... 

" The Bramas which be of the kings 
countrey (for the king is a Brama) haue 
their legs or bellies, or some part of their 
body, as they thinke good themselues, 
made black with certaine things which 
they haue : they vse to pricke the skinne, 
and to put on it a kinde of anile or 
blacking, which doth continue alwayes. 
And this is counted an honour among 
them : but none may haue it but the 
Bramas which are of the kings kindred. 2 

The people of These people wcsiYQ no beards : they 

Peguweareno .. ,1 i ^1 r ^t 

beardu. pull out the haire on their faces with 

little pinsons made for the purpose. 
Some of them will let 16 or 20 haires 
grow together, some in one place of his 
face and some in another, and pulleth 
out all the rest : for he carieth his 
pinsons alwayes with him to pull the 
haires out as soone as they appeare. If 
they see a man with a beard they 
wonder at him. They haue their teeth 
blacked both men and women, for they 

1 The ruby mines of the Mogok district are now worked by a 
British company under a concession from the Government. 

2 The practice of tattooing the upper half of the leg is still in 
vogue among the male population of Burma. 


say a dogge hath his teeth white, there- 
fore they will blacke theirs. 

" The Pegues if they haue a sute in 
the law which is so doubtfull that they 
cannot well determine it, put two long 
canes into the water where it is very 
deepe : and both the parties go into the 
water by the poles, and there sit men to 
iudge, and they both do diue vnder the 
water, and he which remaineth longest 
vnder the water doth winne the sute." 



story of the last stages of Master Fitch's 
JL wanderings presents two notable features, 
namely, the ease of the traveller's movements in 
remote and turbulent regions, secondly, his immunity 
from the caprices of the native tyrant, or the jealousy 
and rapacity of the official or filibustering Portuguese. 
He travelled as a trader and paid his dues as a matter 
of course at the various ports he visited ; indeed he 
had no other means of support, for there is not the 
slightest suggestion that he took either part or interest 
in any of the plundering expeditions he must have 
seen going on around him. 

Malacca, just before the first Englishman saw it, 
had undergone a terrible experience. Linschoten 
states that early in 1587 news reached Goa that the 
emporium was in great danger, the kings of Achem 
(Acheen) and Jor (Johore) having closed the 
Straits, thus blocking the spice trade and prevent- 
ing traffic to China and Japan. The news caused a 



great sensation, and in September Dom Paulo de 
Lima Pereira was despatched thither with a strong 
force. Dom Paulo carried out the expedition with 
distinguished success, crushing all opposition, and, 
after relieving the city, which was on the verge of 
starvation, returned to Goa in April, 1588. The 
Dutch narrator, in his usual entertaining fashion, tells 
us that the Dom captured in the straits a ship 
belonging to the King of Achem, who was the 
principal cause of the disturbance, in which was his 
daughter on her way to be married to the King of 
Jor, who carried with her a large piece of ordnance as 
a wedding present. The Portuguese landed and, 
after a desperate resistance, plundered and burnt the 
capital of Jor, afterwards proceeding to Malacca, 
which they entered in triumph, the King of Achem 
being glad to come to terms for his daughter's sake. 
The great gun was sent as a trophy to the King of 
Portugal, but sunk in the wreck of the vessel off 
Tercera in the Azores ; it was afterwards raised and 
placed on the fortifications of that island. Apparently 
the ship in question was that which Linschoten met 
at St. Helena on his own return home (isSp). 1 On 
board of her he tells us was a factor " Gerrit van 
Afhuysen borne in Antwarpe, and dwelling in Lis- 
bone," who had sailed in the vessel from Lisbon two 
years before. Fitch, who reached the city immedi- 
ately after its relief by Dom Paulo, was there at the 

1 Linschoten's " Discours," English ed., 1598, pp. 151-4 and 
172. Sousa gives a graphic account of the relief of Malacca 
and the rivalry of the Portuguese commanders, vol. iii. chap, 
v. ; also see Danvers, vol. ii. chap. iii. 


same time as the Dutchman, but the presence of the 
Englishman was evidently unnoticed, otherwise 
Afhuysen would have mentioned the circumstance to 
Linschoten, who with equal certainty would have left 
us the gossip in full detail. 

After being captured by the Dutch in 1641, and 
by the British in 1795, the city was again held by the 
former from 1818 to 1825, when it finally became a 
British possession. Owing to the shallowness of 
the harbour, among other causes, the port has long 
been outrivalled by both Singapore and Penang. A 
recent traveller thus tersely describes its present con- 
dition : " Malacca is reposing after its varied history 
and its former prosperity as the outlet of the products 
of the Peninsula, in a condition of peaceful stagnation. 
Its colourless condition is well typified by its sole 
product tapioca, produced in large quantities by 
Chinese labour and capital." He recalls that Camoens 
was wrecked off this coast on his voyage home and 
swam ashore with the manuscript of the Lusiad, 
losing everything else. The poet wrote of its 
prosperous days : 

" Malacca's market grand and opulent, 
Whither each Province of the long seaboard 
Shall send of merchantry rich varied hoard." T 


" The 10 of January I went from 
Pegu to Malacca, passing by many of- 


1 " The Peoples and Politics of the Far East," by Mr. Henry 
Norman, p. 44 (Fisher Unwin, 1895). 



the ports of Pegu, as Martauan, the 
Hand of Taui, from whence commeth 
great store of tinne which serueth all 
India, the Hands of Tanaseri, lunsalaon, 
and many others : and so came to 
Malacca the 8 of February, where the 
Portugals haue a castle which standeth 
nere the sea. 1 And the countrey fast 
without the towne belongeth to the 
Malayos, which is a kinde of proud peo- 
ple. They go naked with a cloth about 
their middle, and a litle roll of cloth 
about their heads. Hither come many 
ships from China & from the Malucos, 
Banda, Timor, and from many other 
Hands of the lauas, which bring great 
store of spices and drugs, and diamants 
and other iewels. The voyages into 
many of these Hands belong vnto the 
captaine of Malacca ; so that none may 
goe thither without his licence : which 
yeeld him great summes of money 
euery yeere. The Portugals heere haue 
often times warres with the king of 
Achem which standeth in the Hand of 
Sumatra : from whence commeth great 
store of pepper and other spices euery 

1 The chief export of the island of Tavoy during recent years 
has consisted of edible birds'-nests. The old town of Tenasserim 
was built on a neck of land at the confluence of the Great and 
Little Tenasserim rivers ; it is now a mere hamlet (H.). Island 
of Junkseylon. 


yeere to Pegu and Mecca within the 
Red sea, and other places. 

The voyage to "When the Portugals go from Macao 

in China to lapan, they carry much 
white silke, golde, muske, and porcelanes: 
and they bring from thence nothing but 
siluer. They haue a great caracke 
which goeth thither euery yere, and she 
bringeth from thence euery yere aboue 

Eight hundred sixe hundred thousand crusadoes : and 

thousand crusadoes ,,,.., 

in siluer impioyed all this siluer of lapan, and two hundred 
thousand crusadoes more in siluer which 
they bring yeerely out of India, they im- 
ploy to their great aduantage in China : 
and they bring from thence golde, 
muske, silke, copper, porcelanes, and 
many other things very costly and 
gilded. When the Portugals come to 
Canton in China to traffike, they must 
remaine there but certaine dayes : and 
when they come in at the gate of the 
city, they must enter their names in a 
booke, and when they goe out at night 
they must put out their names. They 
may not lie in the towne all night, but 
must lie in their boats without the 
towne. And their dayes being expired, 
if any man remaine there, they are euill 
vsed and imprisoned. The Chinians 
are very suspitious, and doe not trust 
strangers. It is thought that the king 
doth not know that any strangers come 


into his countrey. And further it is 
credibly reported that the common 
people see their king very seldome or 
not at all, nor may not looke vp to that 
place where he sitteth. And when he 
rideth abroad he is caried vpon a great 
chaire or serrion gilded very faire, 
wherein there is made a little house 
with a latise to looke out at ; so that he 
may see them, but they may not looke 
vp at him : and all the time that he 
passeth by them, they heaue vp their 
hands to their heads, & lay their heads 
on the ground, and looke not vp vntill 
he be passed. The order of China is 
when they mourne, that they weare white 
thread shoes, and hats of straw. The 
man doth mourne for his wife two 
yeeres, the wife for her husband three 
yeeres : the sonne for his father a yeere, 
and for his mother two yeres. And all 
the time which they mourne they keepe 
the dead in the house, the bowels being 
taken out and filled with chownam or 
lime, and coffined : and when the time 
is expired they carry them out playing 
and piping, and burne them. And 
when they returne they pull off their 
mourning weeds, and marry at their 
pleasure. A man may keepe as many 
concubines as he will, but one wife 
onely. All the Chineans, laponians, 


The writing of the and Cauchin Chineans do write right 
people of china, &c. Downwards, and they do write with a 

fine pensill made of dogs or cats haire. 
Laban. " Laban is an Hand among the lauas 

from whence come the diamants of the 
New water. And they finde them in the 
riuers : for the king will not suffer them 
to digge the rocke. 

" lamba is an Hand among the lauas 
also, from whence come diamants. And 
the king hath a masse of earth which 
is golde ; it groweth in the middle of a 
riuer : and when the king doth lacke 
gold, they cut part of the earth and melt 
it, whereof commeth golde. This masse 
of earth doth appeare but once in a 
yere ; which is when the water is low : 
and this is in the moneth of April. 

" Bima is another Hand among the 
lauas, where the women trauell and 
labour as our men do in England, and 
the men keepe house and go where they 
will. 1 

1 Fitch, who probably heard these accounts of China and 
Japan and the other places he mentions during his sojourn at 
Malacca, may here refer to Bima, a seaport town on the island 
of Sumbawa, Dutch East Indies, now chiefly noted for its export 
of timber, other produce, and ponies. lamba, or, in modern 
spelling, Jamba, possibly represents the present Jambi on the 
right bank of the river of the same name in the auriferous island 
of Sumatra. The Dutch founded a factory at Jambi in i6i6,and 
in and around the town many Hindu sculptures have been dis- 
covered. If "Laban" represents the island of Labuan on the 

1 82 


He returneth from 


"The 29 of March 1588, I returned 
from Malacca to Martauan, and so to 
Pegu, where I remained the second time 
vntill the 17 of September, and then I 
went to Cosmin, and there tooke ship- 
ping ; and in passing many dangers by 
reason of contrary windes, it pleased 
God that we arriued in Bengala in 
Nouember following : where I stayed 
for want of passage vntill the third of 
February 1589, and then I shipped my 
selfe for Cochin. In which voyage we 
endured great extremity for lacke of 
fresh water : for the weather was 
extreme hote, and we were many mar- 
chants and passengers, and we had 
very many calmes, and hote weather. 
Yet it pleased God that we arriued in 
Ceylon the sixth of March, where we 
stayed flue dayes to water, and to 
furnish our selues with other necessary 
prouision. This Ceylon is a braue 
Hand, very fruitfull & faire ; but by 
reason of continuall warre with the king 
thereof, all things are very deare : for 
he will not suffer any thing to be 
brought to the castle where the Portu- 

north-west coast of Borneo, our traveller's statement will be of 
interest to the British North Borneo Company, to whom the 
island, then a Crown colony, was transferred by the British 
Government about 1890; sago is one of its chief products, and 
coal mining is carried on with success. 

Oey on. 


gals be : wherefore often times they 
haue great want of victuals. Their 
prouision of victuals commeth out of 
Bengala euery yere. The king is called 
Raia, and is of great force ; for he com- 
meth to Columbo, which is the place 
where the Portugals haue their fort, 
with an hundred thousand men, and 
many elephants. But they be naked 
people all of them ; yet many of them 
be good with their pieces which be 
muskets. When the king talketh with 
any man, he standeth vpon one legge, 
and setteth the other foot vpon his 
knee with his sword in his hand : it is 
not their order for the king to sit but 
to stand. His apparell is a fine painted 
cloth made of cotton wooll about his 
middle : his haire is long and bound vp 
with a little fine cloth about his head : 
all the rest of his body is naked. His 
guard are a thousand men, which stand 
round about him, and he in the 
middle ; and when he marcheth, many 
of them goe before him, and the rest 
come after him. They are of the race 
of the Chingalayes, which they say are 
best kinde of all the Malabars. Their 
eares are very large ; for the greater 
they are, the more honourable they are 
accounted. Some of them are a spanne 
long. The wood which they burne is 


Blacke people. 

Cape de Oomori. 


Cinamom wood, and it smelleth very 
sweet. There is great store of rubies, 
saphires, and spinelles in this Hand : the 
best kinde of all be here ; but the king 
will not suffer the inhabitants to digge 
for them, lest his enemies should know 
of them, and make warres against him, 
and so driue him out of his countrey for 
them. They haue no horses in all the 
countrey. The elephants be not so 
great as those of Pegu, which be mon- 
strous huge : but they say all other 
elephants do feare them, and none dare 
fight with them, though they be very 
small. Their women haue a cloth bound 
about them from their middle to their 
knee : and all the rest is bare. All of 
them be blacke and but little, both men 
and women. Their houses are very 
little, made of the branches of the palmer 
or coco-tree, and couered with the 
leaues of the same tree. 

" The eleuenth of March we sailed 
from Ceylon, and so doubled the cape 
of Comori. Not far from thence, 
betweene Ceylon and the maine land of 
Negapatan, they fish for pearles. And 
there is fished euery yere very much ; 
which doth serue all India, Cambaia, 
and Bengala, it is not so orient as the 
pearle of Baharim in the gulfe of Persia. 
From cape de Comori we passed by 


couiam. Coulam, which is a fort of the Portugals : 

from whence commeth great store of 
pepper, which commeth from Portugall : 
for oftentimes there ladeth one of the 
caracks of Portugall. 1 Thus passing 

cochin, the coast we arriued in Cochin the 22 of 

March, where we found the weather 
warme, but scarsity of victuals : for here 
groweth neither corne nor rice : and the 
greatest part commeth from Bengala. 
They haue here very bad water, for the 
riuer is farre off. This bad water causeth 
many of the people to be like lepers, 

People with swollen and many of them haue their legs 

legges mentioned .. . . 

also by loh. swollen as bigge as a man in the waste, 

Huygen. & many of them are scant able to go. 

These people here be Malabars, and of 
the race of the Naires of Calicut : and 
they differ much from the other Mala- 
bars. These haue their heads very full 
of haire, and bound vp with a string : 
and there doth appeare a bush without 
the band wherewith it is bound. The 
men be tall and strong, and good archers 
with a long bow and a long arrow, 

1 Quilon (Travancore state), one of the oldest towns on the 
coast, its history going back to the records of the primitive 
Syrian Church in India. One of the greatest ports of Malabar, 
it is mentioned as Coilon in a letter of the Nestorian Patriarch 
Jesujabus who died A.D. 660, and is the Coilum of Marco Polo 
and the Columbum of several ecclesiastical writers. The 
Portuguese established a factory and fort here in 1503. 

1 86 


How pepper 

Blacke people. 

which is their best weapon : yet there be 
some caliuers among them, but they 
handle them badly. 

" Heere groweth the pepper ; and it 
springeth vp by a tree or a pole, and 
is like our iuy berry, but something 
longer like the wheat eare : and at the 
first the bunches are greene, and as 
they waxe ripe they cut them off and 
dry them. The leafe is much lesser 
then the iuy leafe and thinner. All the 
inhabitants here haue very little houses 
couered with the leaues of the coco- 
trees. The men be of reasonable stature ; 
the women litle ; all blacke, with a 
cloth bound about their middle hanging 
down to their hammes : all the rest of 
their bodies be naked : they haue 
horrible great eares with many rings 
set with pearles and stones in them. 
The king goeth incached, as they do all : 
he doth not remaine in a place aboue 
flue or sixe dayes : he hath many 
houses, but they be but little : his guard 
is but small : he remooueth from one 
house to another according to their 
order. All the pepper of Calicut and 
course cinamom groweth here in this 
countrey. The best cinamom doth 
come from Ceylon, and is pilled from 
fine yoong trees. Here are very many 
palmer or coco-trees, which is their 


chiefe food : for it is their meat and 
drinke : and yeeldeth many other neces- 
sary things, as I haue declared before. 
" The Naires which be vnder the king 

or Calicut or of Samorin, which be Malabars, haue 
alwayes wars with the Portugals. The 
king has alwayes peace with them : but 
his people goe to the sea to robbe & 
steale. Their chief captaine is called 
Cogi Alii ; he hath three castles vnder 
him. When the Portugals complaine 
to the king, he sayeth he doth not send 
them out : but he consenteth that they 
go. They range all the coast from 
Ceylon to Goa, and go by foure or flue 
parowes or boats together ; and haue 
in euery one of them fifty or threescore 
men, and boord presently. They do 
much harme on that coast and take 
euery yere many foists and boats of the 
Portugals. Many of these people be 
Moores. This kings countrey beginneth 
twelue leagues from Cochin, and reacheth 
neere vnto Goa. I remained in Cochin 
vntill the second of Nouember which 
was eight moneths ; for that there was 
no passage that went away in all that 
time : if I had come two dayes sooner 
I had found a passage presently. From 

ooa. Cochin I went to Goa, where I remained 

three dayes. From Cochin to Goa is 
an hundred leagues. From Goa I went 





The pepper tree, 



Nutmegs & 

to Chaul, which is threescore leagues, 
where I remained three and twenty 
dayes : and there making my prouision 
of things necessary for the shippe, from 
thence I departed to Ormus ; where 
I stayed for a passage to Balsora fifty 
dayes. From Goa to Ormus is foure 
hundred leagues. 

Here I thought good, before I make 
an end of this my booke, to declare 
some things which India and the 
countrey farther Eastward do bring 

The pepper groweth in many parts 
of India, especially about Cochin : and 
much of it doeth grow in the fields 
among the bushes without any labour : 
and when it is ripe they go and gather 
it. The shrubbe is like vnto our iuy 
tree : and if it did not run about some 
tree or pole, it would fall downe and 
rot. When they first gather it, it is 
greene ; and then they lay it in the Sun, 
and it becommeth blacke. 

The ginger groweth like vnto our 
garlike, and the root is the ginger : it is 
to be found in many parts of India. 

The cloues doe come from the lies of 
the Moluccoes, which be diuers Hands : 
their tree is like our bay tree. 

The nutmegs and maces grow to- 
gether, and come from the He of Banda, 



G amphora, 

Lignum Aloes. 

Long pepper. 


the tree is like to our walnut tree but 
somewhat lesser. 

The white sandol is wood very sweet 
& in great request among the Indians : 
for they grinde it with a little water, 
and anoynt their bodies therewith : it 
commeth from the isle of Timor. 

Camphora is a precious thing among 
the Indians, and is solde dearer then 
golde. I thinke none of it commeth 
for Christendome. That which is com- 
pounded commeth from China: but 
that which groweth in canes and is the 
best commeth from the great Isle of 

Lignum Aloes commeth from Cau- 

The beniamin commeth out of the 
countreys of Siam and langomes. 

The long pepper groweth in Bengala, 
in Pegu, and in the Hands of the lauas. 

The muske commeth out of Tartarie, 
and is made after this order, by report 
of the marchants which bring it to 
Pegu to sell ; In Tartarie there is a 
little beast like vnto a yong roe, which 
they take in snares, and beat him to 
death with the blood: after that they 
cut out the bones, and beat the flesh 
with the blood very small, and fill the 
skin with it: and hereof cometh the 



Rubies, saphires 
and spinels. 







Of the amber they hold diuers opinions ; 
but most men say it commeth out of 
the sea, and that they finde it vpon the 
shores side. 

The rubies, saphires, and spinelles 
are found in Pegu. 

The diamants are found in diuers 
places, as in Bisnagar, in Agra, in Belli, 
and in the Hands of the lauas. 

The best pearles come from the 
Hand of Baharim in the Persian sea, 
the woorser from the Piscaria neere the 
Isle of Ceylon, and from Aynam a 
great Hand on the Southermost coast 
of China. 

Spodium and many other kindes of 
drugs come from Cambaia. 

" Now to returne to my voyage ; from 
Ormus I went to Balsara or Basora, and 
from Basora to Babylon : and we passed 
the most part of the way by the strength 
of men by hailing the boat vp the riuer 
with a long cord. From Babylon I came 
by land to Mosul, which standeth nere 
to Niniue, which is all ruinated and 
destroyed ; it standeth fast by the riuer 
of Tigris. From Mosul I went to 
Merdin, which is in the countrey of the 
Armenians ; but now there dwell in 
that place a people which they call 
Cordies, or Curdi. From Merdin I 
went to Orfa, which is a very faire 


towne, and it hath a goodly fountaine 

ful of fish ; where the Moores hold 

many great ceremonies and opinions 

concerning Abraham : for they say he 

did once dwell there. From thence I 

sir went to Bir, and so passed the riuer of 

Aleppo. Euphrates. From Bir I went to Aleppo, 

where I stayed certaine moneths for 

Tripoiis. company ; and then I went to Tripolis ; 

where finding English shipping, I came 

with a prosperous voyage to London, 

where by Gods assistance I safely 

arriued the 29 of April 1591, hauing 

bene eight yeeres out of my native 


The voyage home from Malacca to 
London occupied no less a period than 
three years and one month (March 29, 1588, to April 
29, 1591), and the uninterrupted ease with which it was 
accomplished after allowing for the inevitable diffi- 
culties of travel experienced in those days affords 
a marked contrast to the leading incident of the 
outward journey. Ralph Fitch again joined the 
increasing crowd of merchants who sailed from one 
mercantile port to another. From Malacca to Mar- 
taban, and thence to Pegu, he pursued his way 
through the delta to a port in Bengal, probably 
"Serrepore" (Serampur, see pages 119 and 153); 
whence he was able to ship to Ceylon. Following 
the current of commerce he doubled Cape Comorin 
and, after a call at the famous port of Quilon, he 


passed several months at Cochin under the very eyes 
of the Hispano-Portuguese authorities, who were 
now at open war with his countrymen, and actually 
stayed a few days at Goa, the scene of his former 
imprisonment. The journey was continued via Chaul, 
Ormuz, Bussorah (Busra), and Bagdad familiar 
ground and then, probably for trading purposes, 
Fitch, instead of finding the shortest way home, 
proceeded to visit one or two of the commercial 
centres of Asia Minor, taking in succession Mosul, 
Merdin (or Mardeen), and Urfa, which city, by the 
way, is supposed to be on or near one of the tradi- 
tional sites of the Ur of the Chaldees. Thence he 
journeyed, via Bir (Birejik), across the Euphrates to 

Travel-worn, tanned by strange suns, and coming 
back as one from the dead, Master Fitch must have 
met with a warm welcome from his fellow Englishmen 
who were already well-established at Aleppo. Of this 
he tells us nothing, only stating that he waited here 
several months for travelling company to Tripolis, 
where he found English shipping to take him home. 
It is typical of his modesty that he summarises, 
in the briefest possible fashion, the details of the 
later portion of his return journey to the exclusion of 
all incident. The narrative would have been even 
more interesting for a few personal touches. It is 
possible that the hard-headed merchant arrived at 
the conclusion that his contemporaries would have 
doubted his whole story had he enlarged upon his 
own individual adventures and experiences and he 
must have seen a good deal of the rough side of 


Eastern life in this adventurous epoch. As it is, 
he has at least left us an unvarnished tale, which bears 
the indelible stamp of truth, and posterity is grateful 
to one who is proved to have been the sole pioneer 
of British Empire in the East and Further East. 






UNFORTUNATELY little or nothing of Ralph 
Fitch's personal history appears to have been 
preserved, though of the lasting results 
. of his great achievement there is ample 
evidence. Moreover, to those who are 
interested in the complex question of heredity, there 
is the striking fact that two members of his family, 
after intervals, served their country well in distin- 
guished positions in the distant lands he visited, 
namely, in India and Burma. Judging by many 
surrounding circumstances, he appears to have been 
a retiring man, one who, while fully alive to the 
probable outcome of his work, was not given to 
self-advertisement. His name does not appear on 
the roll of subscribers to the first East India Com- 
pany even for a moderate sum, and although he was 
willing to assist the Adventurers by his advice, which 
must have been most valuable, he does not seem to 

have been among those chosen to represent them 



in the negotiations with the Court. There is nothing 
derogatory in all this ; modesty is not incompatible 
with fixity of purpose and long endurance, nor is it 
an unknown characteristic of men of action. A 
curious sidelight is thrown on Fitch's adventure by 
the following quotation, which exhibits in a few 
words the interest which was aroused far beyond the 
circle of merchants and their representatives who 
were in those lively days making the history of their 
country: "In 1606 was produced Shakespeare's 
'Macbeth': there we read (Act i. scene iii.) : 'Her hus- 
band's to Aleppo gone, master of the Tiger.' This 
line, when compared with the opening passage of 
Fitch's narrative, is too striking to be regarded as a 
mere coincidence, and is also one of the clearest 
pieces of evidence known to us of Shakespeare's use 
of the text of Hakluyt." * 

As to the active part Master Fitch took in the 
opening up of the Indian trade, and the esteem in 
which he was held by the influential men who were 
determined upon the stupendous enterprise, we have 
only two recorded instances, but they are eloquent 
enough. At a meeting of Adventurers, which Mr. 
Richard Staper and Mr. John Eld red attended, held 
on the (2) ist of October, 1600, the year of the 
Charter, the appended resolution was adopted : 

" It is alsoe orderid that the said m Aid" Bannyng Cap- 
tain Lancaster m Allabaster together w th m Eldred and mr. 
ffitche shall in ther meeting to morrowe morning at m 
Allabasters house conferre of the merchaundize fitt to be 

1 " Dictionary of National Biography." 


pvided for the viage and to (make) sett downe their 
opinions of the said merchaundize that the same may be 
presentid to these Comittees at ther next meeting to be 
further resolved vponn." l 

The following, dated December 31, 1606, is the 
last known incident in the history of Master Ralph 
Fitch ; it shows that he survived his pioneering 
journey for at least fifteen years, and took part in the 
affairs of the East India Company down to the 
third voyage : 

" Court Minutes of the East India Company. Present : 
Sir William Romney, Governor, Sir Thos. Smythe, Sir 
Thos. Cambell, Wm. Harrison, Robt. Johnson, Reynold 
Greene, Robert Bucke, Humphrey Smyth, Sir Jas. Lan- 
caster, Geo. Boles, John Highlord, John Eldred, Robert 
Coxe, Robt. Sandye, and Hugh Hamersley. Victuals to 
be provided for the third voyage. Letters to be obtained 
from King James to the King of Cambaya, the Governors 
of Aden, and two more places not far from Aden ; their 
titles to be inquired of Ralph Fitch ; also letters to be 
sent as from His Majesty to those Kings who sent him 
presents. The destination of each ship to be decided 
upon. Names of factors appointed to the Dragon, Hector, 
and Consent. Fras. Bucke promised to adventure ^100. 
Bonds to be given by each factor ; their request to employ 
stock in the voyage." 2 

1 " The Dawn of British Trade to the East Indies as 
recorded in the Court Minutes of the East India Company, 
1599-1603," by Henry Stevens of Vermont, with an introduction 
by Sir George Birdwood, p. 26. 

- Sainsbury's " Calendar of State Papers, East Indies, 1513- 
1616." No. 356. 


The interesting circumstance that 
two members of a family which Ralph 
Fitch had already distinguished should have 
attained eminence in widely separate portions of 
the British-Indian Empire is further enhanced by 
the fact that one of them, the late Lieut-Gen. 
Albert Fytche, has left the story on record. 1 He 
tells us that William Fytche, who was in the 
service of the East India Company, was appointed a 
member of the Council of Merchants at Calcutta 
in 1746, and in 1749 became Chief of the English 
factory at Cossimbazaar, the fort and mart of Moor- 
sherabad, at that time the native capital of Bengal. 
In January, 1752, he was appointed President of 
Fort William, but died on August loth from dysen- 
tery, aged thirty-five years. " It is a strange circum- 
stance," he adds, "that during the same year of 1752 
Warren Hastings was sent from Calcutta to fill a 
subordinate post at Cossimbazaar. He must have 
arrived there a few weeks after the departure of 
William Fytche for Calcutta." The soldier-author 
publishes a fine portrait of the President of Fort 
William : he describes it as follows, with an accom- 
panying diatribe which, to say the least, is pardon- 
able : " A portrait of William Fytche was painted 
by Hogarth ; it has been preserved in the family. 
It was not taken from life, but was painted from a 

1 "Burma, Past and Present," by Lieut.-Gen. Albert Fytche, 
C.S.I., late Chief Commissioner of British Burma and Agent 
to the Viceroy and Governor-General of India, 2 vols (Kegan 
Paul, 1878). The book is dedicated to "My Cousin Alfred 
Tennyson, Poet Laureate." 


sketch taken in Bengal, and a portrait by a native 
artist. The picture is suggestive. It is difficult to 
look at it without thinking what a part William 
Fytche might have played in the subsequent history 
of India had he not been cut off by that cruel 
dysentery, which is the curse of Bengal. He was suc- 
ceeded by Roger Drake. When Suraj-ood-dowlah 
invested Calcutta, Roger Drake declared he was a 
quaker, and escaped on board a ship with the ladies. 
The costume of William Fytche shows that he was 
no quaker. I may be permitted to believe that had 
William Fytche been President of Calcutta in 1756 
Suraj-ood-dowlah would have returned to Moorshe- 
rabad at a much earlier date than is recorded in 
history. I am also inclined to believe that there 
would have been no ' Black Hole ' tragedy, although 
possibly there might have been a battle of Plassey." 
We are further assured that it is a good likeness, as it 
strongly resembles a larger picture of his brother 
Thomas painted by Hudson about the same time. 
The following note will speak for itself: " In those 
days the rate of exchange was very different from 
its present lamentable state. From family papers I 
perceive that William Fytche used to send remit- 
tances home to his brother Thomas Fytche of 
Danbury Place, Essex, by Government Bills of 
Exchange, drawn at ninety days after sight, at two 
shillings and fourpence each rupee." 

In his interesting contribution to 

Burmese history Lieut. -Gen. Fytche 

tells us he "landed in India as a young Ensign 

in 1839; I left it as Chief Commissioner of 


British Burma in 1871. With the exception of two 
years at starting, and a few occasional intervals, I 
spent the whole of this period of thirty-two years in 
the province of British Burma." Dilating on the 
differences of the Indian journey in 1839 from what 
they are in later times, the author says that em- 
barkation was regarded almost as a lifelong separa- 
tion, adding as an illustration a set of four verses 
written on his departure by his youthful cousin 
Charles Tennyson (who afterwards took the name of 
Turner), brother of the poet laureate, and addressed 
to his mother. Fytche, who was then barely 
eighteen years of age, had as a fellow-passenger 
on the ship Marquis Camden^ the famous John 
Nicholson, a lad of sixteen. He was appointed 
Chief Commissioner of British Burma and Agent to 
the Viceroy in 1867, in succession to Major-Gen. 
Sir Arthur Phayre, who was the first Commissioner, 
and served the term of four years. 

The leader of the Fitch expedition 

John Newberie, * 

pioneer and on its setting forth from London in 

1583 was an experienced traveller and 
courageous pioneer. This much we can gather from 
the records of the three voyages he undertook, in- 
cluding the last one to India, but, as in the case of 
Ralph Fitch himself, we know little more about him. 
When the three English adventurers separated at 
Fatehpur Sikri in September, 1585, it will be remem- 
bered Newberie set off for Lahore, announcing his 
intention of returning through Persia to England, 
whence he would send a ship to Pegu. From this 
we may gather that he was highly satisfied with the 


result of the mission, and saw great possibilities in 
the Eastern trade for his countrymen and co- 
partners. There is one suggestion of doubt as to 
his return home, which is dealt with below. 

The first of his journeys of which we have an 
account was to the Holy Land, and this is all that 
Purchas give us. It contains in the opening sen- 
tences a very interesting hint of the Protestantism 
of the writer that is, assuming that the few words 
in question are not an interpolation by the Rev. 
Samuel Purchas himself : 

"I lohn Newberie Citizen and Merchant of London, 
desirous to see the World, the eighth of March, 1578, 
according to the computation of the Church of England, 
began a Voyage from the Citie of London to Tripolie in 
Syria, and thence to loppe and Hierusalem, and the 
Countrey round about adioyning, which I performed in 
passing through France to Marceils, where I embarqued 
my selfe, and passing through the Leuant or Mediterranne 
Sea, arriued in Tripolie the thirteenth day of May; and 
within few dayes after at loppe, and thence at Hierusalem, 
and the chiefe places thereabout : And spending a moneth 
in visiting the Monuments of those Countries, I returned to 
loppe the tenth of lune, 1579. And the fifteenth of the 
said moneth arriued againe in Tripolie ; from whence 
shortly after I visited Mount Libanus, and returning 
speedily to the said Port of Tripolie, I embarqued my 
selfe in a ship of Marceils, the first of lulie, and the three 
and twentieth of the said moneth, I put in at Candia ; and 
the seuenth day of September, arriued safely in Marceils, 
and passing through France by Lions, Paris, Roan and 
Diepe. The tenth of Nouember of the aforesaid yeere 
1579 by Gods helpe arriued safely in London." 


Appended is the introduction to the second voyage, 
the success of which accounts for Master Fitch's 
introductory statement that Newberie had already 
been at Ormuz : 

"I the said lohn Newbery being incouraged by the 
prosperous successe of my former Voyage to Tripoly, 
Hierusalem, and Mount Lybanus, vndertooke a farre more 
long and dangerous voyage, by the Straights of Gibraltar, 
the Mediterranean Sea, the aforesaid Tripoly, and downe 
the River of Euphrates, as farre as the Citie of Ormus in 
the Gulfe of Persia, and from thence through the Countrey 
of Lar, and the most Easterne parts of Persia to Media, 
Armenia, Georgia, Carmania, Natolia, and so to Constanti- 
nople, and from thence by the Blacke Sea, called in the old 
time PontusEuxinus, into the Mouth of the River Danubius 
by shipping, and so a great way vp the said River, passing 
by the parts of Bugdania and Valachia, at length landing, I 
came to Caminetz, the first Frontier Towne of Poland ; 
and passing through that Kingdome, arriued in Prussia, 
and came to Elbing, and Dantzk, and Quinsborow, where 
imbarquing my selfe, I passed through the Sound of Den- 
mark, and arriued at Hull in England and so ouer land 
trauelled to London, whither I came the last day of August, 
1582, making my voyage in the space of two yeeres, lacking 
nineteene days." I 

As evidence of Newberie's. energy it will be noticed 
that although he only returned from his " farre more 
long and dangerous voyage" in August, 1582, he set 
off again to India in 1583. One cannot forego the 
conclusion that in fact he was an instigator as well 

1 Both voyages are from Purchas, book ix. chap. iii. 


as the personal director of the Indian scheme. In 
his interesting detailed narrative of the second 
voyage he says he left London in the good ship 
White Hinde, on September 19, 1580, and, in relating 
his experiences at Ormuz, tells a curious tale and 
introduces the rival trader Michael Stropene, who, 
during the Fitch voyage, did so much to hinder or 
baulk the English expedition. For some reason 
which he does not explain, his travelling companions, 
about a score in number and of various nationalities 
(not including English), all made oath that Newberie 
was a Christian of Aleppo, "and had wife and 
children and a house there." He adds, " The seuenth 
day of lulie, my man lacomo, which was a Greeke, 
went from me to one Michael Stropene a Venetian, 
being as I suspect, entised thereunto by him, to 
vnderstand my secret purposes." Purchas here 
prints the following passage : " and in very deed, in 
my last Voyage to these parts, in the year 1583, this 
Michael Stropene betrayed me and my companie to 
the Gouernor of Ormus." For the moment the 
sentence raises the curious question as to the time 
when Newberie wrote the account of his second 
voyage. There is every reason to believe that he 
never returned from the expedition to India, Purchas 
himself assumes as much, and it is inconceivable that 
he wrote the long detailed narrative of the second 
voyage amid the arduous trials of the third in order 
to send it home. 1 The only possible conclusion is 

1 Purchas, book x. chap, vi., in a marginal note to Fitch's nar- 
rative of the Indian journey, says of Newberie, " in which he 
seemeth he died, vnknown how or where." A less direct refer- 


that the sentence was added by another hand, and 
that the editor, in his desire to give point to New- 
berie's own story, was not scrupulous as to the means 
he adopted. 

Further light is thrown upon the character of 
this remarkable man, who was of the best type of 
the Elizabethan Englishman, by the letters he sent 
home. His last missive, to Master Leonard Poore, 
of London, appears in an earlier chapter (pages 71 
to 81). Others written during the last journey are 
give here. 1 The first discloses in a highly interesting 
manner the intimate relations in which the Rev. 
Richard Hakluyt stood to the leading explorers and 
travellers among his countrymen, and how he availed 
himself of their services in the work he loved and 
carried out so well ; it also fills in one or two details 
of the voyage : 

" Right welbeloued, and my assured good friend, I heartily 
commend me vnto you, hoping of your good health, &c. 
After we set saile from Grauesend, which was the 13. day of 

ence, but one which does not disturb the theory that Newberie 
never returned to England from Fatehpur Sikri, appears in 
the 1626 edition, p. 579 (" Pilgrimage") : " John Newbury which 
sayled downe Euphrates to this Sea (Persian Gulf) and so to 
Ormuz (visiting Bagdet by the way, which he saith is twentie 
or five and twentie miles, Southward from old Babylon) testi- 
fieth of the women in Ormuz, that they slit the lower part of 
their eares more than two inches, which hangeth downe to 
their chin. This our Countreyman dyed in his Trauels, having 
trauelled to Constantinople, into the blacke Sea, and Danubius, 
and through the Kingdomes of Poland and Persia, the Indies, 
and other parts of the World." 
1 Hakluyt, vol. ii. part i. 


February last, we remained vpon our coast vntill the u. 
day of March, and that day we set saile from Falmouth, an 
neuer ankered till we arriued in the road of Tripolie in 
Syria, which was the last day of Aprill last past, where wee 
stayed 14 days ; and the twentie of this present we came 
hither to Alepo, and with Gods helpe, within flue or sixe 
dayes goe from hence towards the Indies. Since my 
comming to Tripolis I haue made very earnest inquirie 
both there and (here, for the booke of Cosmographie of 
Abilfada Ismael, but by no meanes can heare of it. Some 
say that possibly it may be had in Persia, but notwith- 
standing I will not faile to make inquirie for it, both in 
Babylon, and in Balsara, and if I can finde it in any of 
these places, I wil send it you from thence. The letter 
which you deliuered me for to copy out, that came from 
M. Thomas Steuens in Goa, as also the note you gaue 
mee of Francis Fernandes the Portugal, I brought thence 
with me among other writings vnawares, the which I haue 
sent you here inclosed. Here is great preparation for the 
warres in Persia, and from hence is gone the Bassa of a towne 
called Rahemet, and shortly after goeth the Bassa of Tri- 
polis, and the Bassa of Damasco, but they haue not all 
with them aboue 6000. men from hence, and they goe 
to a towne called Asmerome, which is three dayes iourney 
from Trapezunde, where they shal meete with diuers cap- 
taines and souldiers that come from Constantinople, and 
other places thereabout, which goe altogether into Persia. 
This yeere many men goe into the warres, and so hath 
there euery yeere since the beginning thereof, which is eight 
yeeres or thereabouts, but very fewe of them returne againe. 
Nothwithstanding, they get of the Persians, and make 
castles and holds in their countrey. I pray you make my 
hearty commendations to master Peter Guillame, and 
master Philip lones, and to M. Walter Warner, and to all 
the rest of our friends. Master Fitch hath him heartily 


commended vnto you : and so I commit you to the tuition 
of the Almightie, who blesse and keepe you, and send vs a 
ioyfull meeting. From Alepo, the 28. of May 1583. 
" Your louing friend to command in all that I may, 


The two following letters, sent to Master Poore, 
breathe the true spirit of the merchant-adventurer of 
the age : 

" Right welbeloued, my very heartie commendations vnto 
you, and the rest of my friends remembered. My last I 
sent you was the 25. of February last, from Dele out of the 
Downes, after which time with contrary windes wee remained 
upon our owne coast, vntill the 1 1 . day of March, and then 
wee set saile from Falmouth, and the thirteenth day the 
winde came contrary with a very great storme, which con- 
tinued eight days, and in this great storme wee had some of 
our goods wette, but God bee thanked no great hurt done. 
After which time we sailed with a faire wind within the 
Streights, and so remained at Sea, and ankered at no place 
vntil our comming into the roade of Tripolis in Syria, which 
was the last day of April. This was a very good passage. 
God make vs thankfull for it. The foureteenth day of this 
present wee came from Tripolis, and the twentieth day 
arriued here in Alepo, and with the helpe of God to mor- 
rowe or next day, wee beginne our voyage towards Babylon 
and Balsara, and so into India. Our friend Master Barret 
hath him commended to you, who hath sent you in the 
Emanuel a ball of Nutmegs for the small trifles you sent 
him, which I hope long since you haue receiued. Also hee 
hath by his letter certified you in what order hee solde 
those things, whereof I can say nothing, because I have 
not seene the accompt thereof, neither haue demaunded it : 
for euer since our comming hither hee hath bene still busie 


about the dispatch of the shippe, and our voyage, and I 
likewise in buying of things here to cary to Balsara, and 
the Indies. Wee haue bought in currall for 1200. and odde 
ducats, and amber for foure hundreth ducates and some 
sope and broken glasse, with all other small trifles, all 
which things I hope will serue very wel for those places 
that wee shall goe vnto. All the rest of the accompt of 
the Barke Reinolds was sent home in the Emanuel, which 
was 3600. ducats, which is 200. pound more then it was 
rated. For master Staper rated it but noo. li. and it is 
1300. pound, so that our part is 200. pound. Besides such 
profit as it shall please God to sende thereof: wherefore 
you shall doe very well to speake to M. Staper for the 

"And if you would content your selfe to trauell for 
three or foure yeeres, I would wish you to come hither or 
goe to Cairo, if any goe thither. For wee doubt not if you 
had remained there but three or foure moneths, you would 
like so well of the place, that I thinke you would not 
desire to returne againe in three or foure yeeres. And, if 
it .should be my chance to remaine in any place out of 
England, I would choose this before all other that I know. 
My reason is, the place is healthfull and pleasant, and the 
gaines very good, and no doubt the profit will bee hereafter 
better, things being vsed in good order : for there should 
come in euery ship the fourth part of her Cargason in 
money, which would helpe to put away our commodities at 
a very good price. Also to haue two very good ships to 
come together, would doe very well : for in so doing, the 
danger of the voyage might be accompted as little as from 
London to Antwerpe. Master Giles Porter and master 
Edmund Porter, went from Tripolis in a small barke to 
laffa, the same day that we came from thence, which was 
the 14 day of this present, so that no doubt but long since 
they are in Jerusalem : God send them and vs safe returne. 



At this instant I haue receiued the account of M. Barret, 
and the rest of the rings, with two and twentie duckats, 
two medines in readie money. So there is nothing remaining 
in his hands but a few bookes, and with Thomas Bostocke 
I left certaine small trifles, which I pray you demaund. 
And so once againe with my hearty commendations I 
commit you to the tuition of the almightie, who alwayes 
preserue vs. From Aleppo the 29 of May 1583. 

" Yours assured, 


"My last I sent you, was the 29 of May last past from 
Aleppo, by George Gill the purser of the Tiger, which the 
last day of the same moneth came from thence, & arriued 
at Feluge the 19 day of lune, which Feluge is one dayes 
iourney from hence. Notwithstanding some of our com- 
pany came not hither till the last day of the last moneth 
which was for want of Camels to cary our goods : for at 
this time of the yeere, by reason of the great heate that is 
here, Camels are very scant to be gotten. And since our 
comming hither we haue found very small sales, but diuers 
say that in the winter our commodities will be very well 
sold, I pray God their words may prooue true. I thinke 
cloth, kersies & tinne haue neuer bene here at so low 
prices as they are now. Notwithstanding, if I had here so 
much readie money as the commodities are woorth, I 
would not doubt to make a very good profite of this voiage 
hither, and to Balsara, and so by Gods helpe there will be 
reasonable profite made of the voiage. But with halfe 
money & halfe commoditie may be bought here the best 
sort of spices, and other commodities that are brought from 
the Indies, and without money there is here at this instant 
small good to be done. With Gods helpe two dayes hence, 
I minde to goe from hence to Balsara, and from thence of 
force I must goe to Ormus for want of a man that speaketh 


the Indian tongue. At my being in Aleppo I hired two 
Nazaranies, and one of them hath bene twise in the Indies, 
and hath the language very well, but he is a very lewde 
fellow, and therefore I will not take him with me. 

" Here follow the prices of wares as they are worth here 
at this instant. 

" From Babylon the 20 day of luly 1583, 

" Yours, 


Two more letters from Newberie have been pre- 
served by Purchas, who says they were found among 
the papers of "M. William Hareborne, Her Maiesties 
Embassador to the Grand Signior at Constantinople," 
a statement which opens up a wide field of conjecture 
as to the relations of our pioneer Eastern travellers 
with the diplomatic representatives we were then 
establishing abroad. They are dated respectively 
Babylon, July 15, 1583, and Balsara, August 15, 1583, 
and give some details of the progress of the journey 
and the prospects of trade. In taking leave of 
Master John Newberie no excuse is needed for again 
expressing regret that he did not survive to tell his 
complete story for the benefit of his countrymen, not 
only of his own time, but of ours. 1 

It will be remembered that when the four English- 
men Newberie, Fitch, Leedes, and Storie arrived as 
Thomas Stevens, P r i son e rs at Goa they found a country- 
s.j., missionary man who had preceded them. This 
was Thomas Stevens, or Stephens, a 
member of the Jesuit Order the first Englishman (of 
whom there is a record) to double the Cape of Good 

Purchas, vol. ii. p. 1642-3. 


Hope, and the first to reach India by any route. 
Father Stevens was born at Buston (? Boscombe), in 
the diocese of Salisbury, about 1550. In early life he 
was associated with Thomas Pounde whose various 
imprisonments, extending over thirty years, as an 
English recusant, fill an eloquent page in Roman 
Catholic martyrology and proceeding to Rome was 
admitted among the novices of St. Andrea, in 1575. 
Four years later, in April, 1579, Stevens sailed with a 
fleet of five ships from Lisbon, arriving at Goa on 
October 24th. A lively account of the voyage, in a 
letter written by the young Jesuit to his father shortly 
after his arrival, is preserved in Hakluyt (vol. ii. part 
ii.). He tells how an " English shippe " set upon his 
vessel, which had become separated from the rest of 
the fleet off Madeira, but, after firing a few shots, 
drew off when the Portuguese had got ready their 
"greatest ordinance." As to the hardships of the 
journey, which he says was prolonged to nearly seven 
months, instead of the usual five, because they had 
started late in the season, scurvy appears to have 
become prevalent in the fleet ; they had one hundred 
and fifty sick, of whom twenty-seven died, "which 
losse they esteemed not much in respect of other 
times." His missionary labours extended over a 
period of more than forty years, during which he 
was for some time Rector of Salsette. He died at 
Goa in 1619 in the seventieth year of his age. 

It has been suggested that the letters sent home by 
Thomas Stevens first drew the attention of his country- 
men to the great possibilities of trade with India ; 
there is, however, no hint of the kind in the one re- 


ferred to above. 1 But he interested himself in the lot 
of wandering Englishmen and other foreigners, who 
met with anything but a welcome from the Portuguese 
authorities at Goa. Two or three accounts of what 
he did, or suggestions of the influence he exercised, in 
the case of Fitch and his companions have been given 
in a former chapter. Pyrard of Laval, the French 
traveller, who found himself cast into prison with 
other unfortunates at Goa about 1609, speaks with 
gratitude of the action of several Jesuit Fathers, in- 
cluding " Thomas Estienne, rector of a college in the 
Salsete territory." Personally, Father Stevens appears 
to have been an ideal missionary in relation to both 
Europeans and natives, and his life and character 
stand out in strong contrast to his general surround- 
ings. It is stated that he was the first to make a 
scientific study of Canarese. " His familiarity with 
the dialects of the country is proved by his having 
published three works a Konkani Grammar, an 
Account of Christian Doctrine, and a History of 
Christ, which he called a Purana." 2 
Linachoten J^ n Huyghen van Linschoten, the 

traveller ana famous Dutch traveller and geographer, 
was born at Haarlem about 1 563, in the 

1 See Newberie's reference, p. 207. 

2 " The Voyage of Francois Pyrard of Laval," vol. ii. p. 269, by 
Messrs. Albert Gray and H. C. P. Bell (Hakluyt Society). 
Foley's " Records of the English Province of the Society of 
Jesus," vol. iii. p. 573 et seq. Prof. Monier Williams, Con- 
temporary Review, April, 1878. The latter adds : " I find 
that one Thomas Stevyns took his degree at St. John's College, 
Oxford, in June, 1577." Hakluyt describes Father Stevens as 
formerly of Oxford. 


midst of the troublous period of the Spanish occupa- 
tion of the Low Countries. Some ten years later, about 
the date of the siege and sack of Haarlem one of 
the most striking episodes in the history of the 
Netherlands the family removed to the seaport of 
Enkhuizen, which had early declared for William of 
Orange. The lad thus cradled, as it were, in the din 
of battle, was able in after years to do yeoman's 
service for the cause of freedom, at any rate from a 
commercial standpoint, and to take a leading part in 
that revolution which eventually wrested the glorious 
East from the hold of Spain. He was of that 
methodical, courageous, and withal stubborn stock 
which could persistently and successfully resist oppres- 
sion ; which sent forth explorers and navigators who 
rivalled those of Spain, Portugal, and England in the 
early days ; which has at the present time its repre- 
sentatives in distant lands, both East and West, who 
are being shouldered, perhaps, by more modern- 
spirited competitors, but who still preserve qualities 
worthy of due regard and honourable acknowledg- 
ment. When he was about fourteen years of age, 
John, who was of a roving disposition, went to join 
his two brothers, who were apparently established as 
traders in Spain ; for, notwithstanding the political and 
religious disturbances, commercial relations were main- 
tained between the two countries, which, nominally 
at least, were under the same crown. Here the young 
adventurer, whose bright intelligence and keenness of 
observation were ere long to place his contemporaries, 
as well as posterity, under a deep debt of gratitude, 
learnt the Spanish language, and eventually one of his 


brothers, who was engaged as clerk or purser in the 
Indian fleet, obtained for him an appointment in the 
suite of Fonseca, the new Archbishop of Goa. The 
two brothers sailed with the Archbishop from Lisbon 
in April, 1583 (Fitch's year of departure), arriving in 
September at Goa, where John remained five years. 
During his sojourn Fitch and his companions were 
brought prisoners to the Eastern emporium, and the 
part he took in assisting them has already been 
related. The Archbishop died on his way to Europe 
in 1587, and on the news reaching India in 1588 
Linschoten, who found himself out of employment, 
determined to return home. Leaving Goa at the end 
of 1588 or beginning of 1589, the Portuguese fleet of 
five or six vessels arrived in the Azores in July, and, 
in order to escape the English cruisers, was obliged 
to anchor before Tecera, with disastrous results, for at 
this time of the year it was dangerous to lie there. 
Linschoten remained here two years or more, and 
became very friendly with the Governor. He took 
advantage of the opportunities thus afforded him to 
explore the island and write a description of it ; he 
was further enabled to add an account of the occur- 
rences in the Azores to the end of 1591, including the 
death of Richard Grenville. In 1592 he returned to 
Lisbon, whence he proceeded to his home at Enk- 
huizen the same year. 

If John Huyghen Van Linschoten had been satisfied 
with the role of an adventurer we should probably 
have heard little or nothing about him, but he com- 
menced at once to put to some practical and enduring 
service the results of his wanderings and his personal 


inquiries. By the beginning of 1 596 he had completed 
his " Itinerario," but portion of it appeared in 1595, 
and is said to have been in use on board the ships 
forming the first Dutch expedition to India. The 
whole work proved of immense value to the seafarers 
and explorers of that adventurous epoch. The first 
part consisted of the description of the East and his 
own itinerary ; the second part (published first) dealt 
with routes to the East, Far East, and the American 
coasts, compiled from the best existing sources, be- 
sides an account of the domains, tributes, &c., of the 
King of Spain ; the third went into descriptions of 
the African coasts, and further details were given 
concerning America. There were no less than six 
large maps in the original edition, besides many 
plates and plans, and the ready recognition of the 
high importance of the " Itinerario " may be gauged by 
the fact that translations in English and German were 
published in 1 598, two in Latin in 1 599, and one in 
French in 1610, to say nothing of reprints. Linschoten 
at this time showed the liveliest interest in the search for 
a north-east passage to India and China, in which he 
was a firm believer, and he took part in two Dutch 
expeditions in that direction. He afterwards became 
treasurer of the town of Enkhuizen, where, among 
other literary labours, he assisted his friend Wagen- 
haer in the production of what have been described as 
" the best sailing directions of that time." In 1610 he 
applied to the States-General for a pension in view of 
the services he had rendered his country, but the 
application was refused on the ground that he 
received sufficient emolument from the patents 



granted him for his own books which were renewed 
that year. He died on February 8, 1611, at the com- 
paratively early age of forty-eight years. 1 

This famous London merchant, the 

merchant and friend, travelling companion, and corre- 
spondent of Fitch and Newberie, was 
born at New Buckenham, Norfolk, in 1552. The 
family was of Suffolk origin, and John, having made 
his fortune in Eastern trade, returned thither and 
purchased the manor of Great Saxham, near Bury St. 
Edmunds. Here he built a large house, which came to 
be known in the locality as " Nutmeg Hall," doubtless 
in allusion to the foundation of its proprietor's wealth. 
The first occasion on which he comes into prominence 
as merchant-adventurer is in connection with his 
journey to Tripoli, Bagdad, and Bussorah, his trading 
experiences at Aleppo, and his visit to the Holy Land. 
Eldred set out with Fitch and Newberie and other 
merchants in the Tiger> 1583, and reached the Thames 
on his return in 1588, "in the Hercules of London, 
which was the richest ship of English marchants 
goods that euer was knowen to come into this realme." 
Eldred supplied Hakluyt with a graphic account of 
his five years' experiences abroad, in which he refers 
to the calamity to those of the party who continued 
the journey to India. Purchas also gives three letters 
of Eldred's, which (as in the case of the two from 
Newberie, see ante) he says were found among Hare- 
borne's papers at Constantinople. The first, dated 
Bagdet, July 14, 1583, deals with the arrival and plans 

1 A biographical sketch of Linschotenis given in the Hakluyt 
Society's edition of his travels- 


for the future. The second, Balsara, November 6, 1583, 
signed by Eldred and Shales, is of great interest. It 
tells us that Newberie's pathetic appeal for help, sent 
" from out the prison at Ormuz " in September, had 
been forwarded express to Aleppo ; moreover, it 
settles the question of Newberie's capital (as leader 
of the expedition) in money and goods for the Indian 
voyage. Eldred fixes it at 400 (^"2,400 present 
value), which is a much less sum than the Dutch 
Jesuit at Goa said the travellers had in their possession, 
even assuming that Fitch had a similar amount. In the 
third letter, also signed by Eldred and Shales, dated 
Balsara, January 22, 1583 (4), the following appears : 
" We received no Letters from Master Newberie since 
the first newes of his trouble : but we heare by others 
that he and his Companie are sent Prisoners to Goa, 
and the remayner of his goods is left in the hands of 
the Kings Factor." 

Eldred took an active part in the formation and 
subsequent operations of the East India Company. 
His name appears in the first list of subscribers for 
400, and in the roll of the first Court of Directors. 
His busy life came to a close in 1632, and he was in- 
terred in the church of St. Andrew, Great Saxham. 
The body lies near the altar, and his bust stands in a 
niche on the south side. " Above are the arms of 
Eldred, with a martlet in chief Gules, for difference." 
In the pavement of the church is a black marble 
table of an altar tomb, in the centre of which is a 
brass bearing an engraved effigy of Eldred in his 
alderman's gown. Along the verge are brasses bear- 
ing the arms of Eldred and Rivet (he married Mary 


Rivet, or Revet, of Risbroughs, Suffolk), the City of 
London, and the Clothworkers and Russia Companies. 
A brass plate underneath the bust is inscribed : 


lohn Eldred 

New Bvchingam in Norfolke was his first 
Being. In Babilon hee spent some parte 
Of his time, and the rest of his earthly 
Pilgrimage hee spent in London, and was 
Alderman of that Famous cittie. 
His age ) LXXX. 
His death ) 
The holy land so called I have scene, 

And in the land of Babilon have bene 
Bvt in yt land where gloriovs saints doe live 

My sovle doth crave of Christ a roome to give, 
And theire with holy angells Halilviahs singe 
With loyfvll voyce too God ovr heavenly King 
No content bvt in the O Lord. 

On the tomb are three plates with inscriptions in Latin 
and English. The latter runs as follows : 

Might all my travells mee excvse 

For being dead and lying here ; 

Or if my riches well to vse 

For life to death might mee endeare ; 

I had my fate or quite ovtgone 

Or pvrchase't death's compassion. 

But riches can no ransome bvy 

Nor travels pass ye destiny. 1 

1 For Eldred's voyage, Hakluyt, vol ii. part i. See also 
Gage's "History and Antiquities of Suffolk, Thingoe Hundred," 
and " Dictionary of National Biography." In Page's " Suffolk 
Traveller " it is stated that " Nutmeg Hall " was burnt down in 
1779, the present mansion being completed in 1798. 



WHILST posterity is so deeply indebted to the 
men of action who ventured their lives in 
opening up the remotest parts of the world to their 
countrymen, a meed is due to those others whose 
wealth and wide views of commercial policy enabled 
them, to a very large extent, to suggest and encourage 
the various enterprises of the period. The expedition 
to India, as Fitch frankly tells us, was " chiefly set 
foorth " by Sir Edward Osborne and Master Richard 
Staper, citizens and merchants of London. By 
singular coincidence the journey was undertaken in 
the same year that Osborne was knighted and elected 
Lord Mayor, while Fitch returned in the year that 
saw the termination of his highly successful career 
(1591). There seems to be no evidence that Osborne 
and Staper were actually associated in permanent 
commercial partnership, but we have proof enough 
that they had warm sympathies in common, and that 
they liberally expended their means to develop the 
Eastern trade. At the present time, after a lapse of 


[London Stereoscopic Co. 

Lord Mayor, 1583-4. 


nearly three centuries, their visible mementoes are 
preserved in the City of London, almost within bow- 
shot of each other. The copy of the painting of Sir 
Edward Osborne, now in the possession of the Duke 
of Leeds, hangs in the court-room of the Clothworkers' 
Hall, Mincing Lane, close by the stern lineaments of 
his father-in-law, Sir William Hewet (or Hewitt) ; 
while in the ceiling-arch of a division wall in the 
drawing-room of the same sumptuous building is 
Beverley's picturesque design representing the brave 
deed by which young Osborne laid the foundations 
of his fortune, and of a name destined to rank with 
the proudest in the land. In the church of St. 
Helen, Bishopsgate, hard by, is the monument of his 
friend and associate, Richard Staper, of which an 
excellent engraving is preserved in the hall. 

sir Edward ^ orn a ^ out l 53' t ^ ie son ^ Richard 

Osborne, of Ashford, Kent, Edward 

came to London when a mere boy, for 
the incident which was the turning-point in his career 
would appear to have occurred before his formal 
apprenticeship to Sir William Hewet (Lord Mayor 
in 1559). It is recorded that Hewet's infant daughter 
was dropped by her nurse from the window of an 
apartment in his house on London Bridge, when 
young Osborne plunged into the river and saved the 
child. " The date of this event," says one authority, 
" must have been about 1 545, as the lady, who became 
Osborne's wife, was twenty-three years old at the 
time of her father's death in January, 1566-7." 
According to the " Gregory Collection " among the 
archives at Clothworkers' Hall, Sir William Hewet, 


the wealthy merchant, took the lad as an apprentice 
in May, 1 547 ; the same series contains the definite 
statement that Anne Hewet was born in 1543. 
Edward Osborne was not only taken into the favour 
of his rich and influential employer, but was given 
the girl he had rescued in marriage when she was 
about eighteen years of age. She was the sole heir 
of her father, whose estate, it was estimated, was 
then worth 6,000 a year. She had many suitors, 
including the Earl of Shrewsbury, but Sir William 
whose notions of rectitude, though carried to 
an extreme in this instance, were amply justified 
by the event curtly replied, " Osborne saved her, 
and Osborne should enjoy her." The following 
note appears in the collection already referred 

" The gallant action of Sir Edward Osborne with reference 
to the daughter of Sir William Hewitt, noticed by Stowe 
and other historians, has been the subject of a graphical 
record, there is a small but rather uncommon engraving 
of him leaping from the window of Sir William's House on 
London Bridge executed from a drawing by Saml. Wate. 
As this artist died in the year 1786 it is of course but little 
authority as a representation of the fact but nevertheless 
interesting as giving a portraiture of the dwellings on London 
Bridge in his time, and with this print may also be men- 
tioned one designed by the same hand and engraved by 
Charles Grignion, of the first Duke of Leeds pointing to a 
portrait of Sir William Hewet's daughter and relating to 
King Charles the 2nd. the foregoing anecdote of his 
ancestor. It will be found in Guthrie's complete History 
of the Peerage of England having vignettes at the conclu- 
sion of the history of each family." 


Edward Osborne made rapid progress in com- 
mercial and public life. He became a freeman of 
the Clothworkers' Company, May 8, 1554; Alderman 
of Castle Baynard Ward, 1573 ; was Sheriff 1575-6; 
and Lord Mayor 1583-4. He was knighted Feb- 
ruary 2, 1583, and elected M.P. for London 1586. 
As a matter of civic interest, it is recorded of him 
that he was " the first Lord Mayor who nominated 
citizens to the office of Sheriff by drinking to them ; " 
and this touch of originality may be taken as typical 
of other more solid instances of his lively interest in 
City affairs, which have been left on record, and which 
resulted in his being returned to Parliament. The 
State Papers contain numerous examples of his 
activity, both as citizen and merchant or financial 
agent. His various enterprises in the development 
of foreign trade, when the merchant prince could 
communicate direct with the sovereign, are repeatedly 
referred to by Hakluyt, from whom we learn that 
Sir Edward had command of at least one foreign 
language namely, Spanish. His interest in the 
formation of the Levant or Turkey Company has 
already been mentioned ; the following concise ex- 
tract will throw further light upon it : 

" This trade into the Leuant was very vsuall and much 
frequented from the yeere of our Lord 1511, till the yeere 
1534, and afterwards also, though not so commonly, vntill 
the yeere 1550, when as the barke Aucher vnder the conduct 
of M. Roger Bodenham made a prosperous voyage vnto 
Sicilia, Candia, Sio, and other places within the Leuant. 
Since which time the foresaid trade (notwithstanding the 
Grand Signiors ample priuilege granted to M. Anthony 


lenkenson 1553, and the strong and weighty reasons of 
Gaspar Campion for that purpose) was vtterly discontinued, 
and in maner quite forgotten, as if it had neuer bene, for 
the space of 20 yeares and more. Hovvbeit the discreete and 
worthy citizens Sir Edward Osborne and M. Richard Staper 
seriously considering what benefite might grow to the com- 
mon wealth by renuing of the foresaid discontinued trade, 
to the inlarging of her Maiesties Customes, the furthering 
of nauigation, the venting of diuerse generall commodities 
of this Realme, and the inriching of the citie of London, 
determined to vse some effectuall meanes for the reestablish- 
ing and augmenting thereof. 

"Wherefore about the yeere 1575 the foresaid R. W. 
marchants at their charges and expenses sent lohn Wight 
and Joseph Clements by the way of Poland to Constanti- 
nople, where the said Joseph remained 18 monethes to 
procure a safe conduct from the grand Signior, for M. William 
Harborne, then factor for Sir Edward Osborne, to haue free 
accesse into his Highnes dominions, and obtained the same. 

" Which businesse after two yeres chargeable trauell and 
suit being accomplished, the sayd M. Harborne the first of 
luly 1578 departed from London by the sea to Hamburgh, 
and thence accompanied with Joseph Clements his guide 
and seruant, he trauelled to Leopolis in Poland, and then 
apparelling himselfe, his guide, and his seruant after the 
Turkish fashion (hauing first obteyned the king of Poland 
his safe conduct to passe at Camienijeez the frontier towne 
of his dominions next vnto Turky) by good means he 
obteined favour of one Acmet Chaus the Turks ambassa- 
dour then in Poland, and readie to return to Constantinople, 
to bee received into his companie and carouan. And so 
the fourth of September 1578 he departed with the said 
Acmet from Leopolis in Poland, and trauelling through 
Moldauia, Valachia, Bulgaria, and Romania, gratifying the 
Voiauodes with certaine courtesies, he arriued at Constant!- 


nople the 28 of October next insuing. Where he behaued 
himselfe so wisely and discreetely, that within few moneths 
after he obtained not onely the great Turkes large and 
ample priuiledge for himselfe, and the two worshipfull 
persons aforesaid, but also procured his honourable and 
friendly letters vnto her Maiestie in maner following:" 1 

As the founder of a distinguished family, Sir 
Edward Osborne had issue by his wife, Anne Hewet, 
two sons and three daughters Sir Hewet Osborne, 
born 1567, and knighted by the Earl of Essex in 
Ireland ; Edward, who was a barrister of the Inner 
Temple and died unmarried, 1625 ; Anne, wife of 
Robert Offley of London ; Alice, married to Sir John 
Peyton of Isleham, Kent, Knight and Baronet ; and 
Jane, married to John Webley in the Isle of Ely. 
Sir Edward was afterwards married, but had no 
further issue, to Margaret, the daughter of Sir John 
Maynard, who survived him and intermarried with 
Robert Clarke, one of the Barons of the Exchequer. 
So far as can be judged from the meagre records 
which have been preserved, Sir Edward Osborne was 
a typical citizen and Lord Mayor, active and enter- 
prising to a degree in commercial and financial life, 
jealous of the civic privileges, and morally beyond 
reproach. He died in February, 1591, and was buried 
in St. Dionis Backchurch, Fenchurch Street, on the 
1 6th of that month. The following was the monu- 
mental inscription in the south aisle of the choir of 

1 Hakluyt, vol. ii. part i. p. 136. The letter of Sultan Murad, 
dated March 15, 1579, and Queen Elizabeth's reply of October 
25th, are given in full. 



the church, which was destroyed in the Great Fire 

of 1661 : 

M. H. I. C. 

Christe duce, & ossa resurgent 
The Tombe of Sir Edward Osborne, Kt. some 
time Lord Maior of this Noble Citie, who 
was buried An. Dom. 1591. and of Dame 
Margaret his second Wife, Who married 
after with M Baron Clarke, (by whom 
this Tombe was erected) and was Buried 
An. Dom. 1602. 

But the romance of the brave boy of London 
Bridge, the 'prentice who married his master's 
daughter, and eventually succeeded him as Lord 
Mayor ; the merchant and financier, who lent his 
powerful aid and devoted his untiring energies in those 
distant days to lay the foundations of our Empire in 
the East, is not yet complete. His extraordinary 
qualities, courage, and enterprise were continued by 
his son, Sir Hewet Osborne, who gained his title for 
gallantry in the field against the Irish rebels. The 
next in line, Sir Edward Osborne, Bart, rendered 
conspicuous service to Charles I., and his son Sir 
Thomas the great-grandson of Sir Edward Osborne 
the Lord Mayor was raised to the peerage, by 
patent from Charles II., in August, 1673, as Viscount 
Latimer and Baron of Kiveton in the County of 
York, being created Earl of Danby and Viscount 
Dumblane the following year. Lord Danby is one 
the most prominent figures in the history of this 
period and during the troublous times when James II. 
was king. He is credited with taking an active part 


in arranging the marriage of the Princess Mary with 
William of Orange, and after the Revolution William 
III. advanced him to the dignity of Marquis of 
Carmarthen (1689); in 1694 he was created Duke of 
Leeds. The title at the present day is not unworthily 
borne by George Godolphin Osborne, M.P. for the 
Brixton Division 1883-96, Assistant Secretary to the 
Colonial Secretary 1887-8, and Treasurer of her 
Majesty's Household I895-6. 1 

Full of energy and enterprise as he 
undoubtedly was, there appears to have 
been nothing left on record concerning 
the personality of this successful Elizabethan mer- 
chant. That he did not limit his ventures to the 
Levant and the East generally appears from a letter 
written to him by one John Whithal from Santos, 
Brazil, in 1578. The latter explains that he has 
delayed his return home owing to the fact that " it is 
in this countrey offered me to marry, and to take my 
choice of three or foure." Master Whithal eventually 
fixed his affections on the daughter and only child of 
a Genoese sugar planter, who made over as dowry 

1 The " Gregory Collection," at Clothworkers' Hall, contains 
several interesting incidents of Sir Edward Osborne's Shrievalty 
and Mayoralty, copies of his signature, and quotations from 
Stow's "Survey"; also an assortment of extracts relating to 
the family history, and two fine engravings of Sir Thomas 
Osborne as the Earl of Danby, after Lely, and as the first Duke 
of Leeds, from Vander Vaart. The National Portrait Gallery 
contains a print of the great Duke, in Garter robes, drawn and 
engraved from the life by Robert White. A quaint account of 
the London Bridge story is repeated in Mr. R. Thomson's 
" Chronicles of London Bridge," pp. 313-16. 


a share in an " Ingenio," which turned out a large 
quantity of sugar yearly, with the promise of the 
management of the whole business, including sixty 
or seventy slaves. 1 It seems strange that none of 
the published letters sent home by Fitch and New- 
berie during their voyage were addressed to either 
Osborne or Staper, the prime movers in the under- 
taking; it is possible that these astute merchants 
received private intelligence which they did not 
choose to communicate to Mr. Hakluyt. 

Staper, who is described as of Plymouth and 
London, 2 was a member of the Merchant Taylors' 
Company, and as early as 1574 was appointed by 
the Crown on a Commission for the discovery and 
plantation of new settlements in America.3 Mr. 
Henry N. Stevens, in his preface to the volume of 
Court Records, makes the interesting statement that 
a number of letters he reproduces, which are probably 
draft letters of the Company of Levant Merchants, were 
found in the manuscript volume containing the first 
minutes of the East India Company, having been com- 
menced at the other end of the book. From the dates 
of the entries he suggests that the book was for a 
time used in common by both Companies, and that 
one Company grew out of the other, for several persons 
mentioned appear to have been members of both.4 
Staper was a vigorous member of both Companies. 

1 Hakluyt, vol. iii. p. 701. 

2 Fox Bourne's "English Merchants," vol. i. p. 199. 

3 Clode's " Early History of the Merchant Taylors' Company," 
vol. i. p. 322. 

4 Stevens's " Dawn of British Trade to the East Indies." 


[London Stereoscopic Co. 
St. Helen's, Bishopsgate 


With regard to the larger adventure, and in fact 
the foundation of the East India Company, Staper's 
name appears repeatedly in various forms, from Stap 
to Stapers, in the volume of minutes which extends 
from 1599 to 1603. At the beginning, under the 
heading : " The names of such persones as haue 
writtin withe there owne handes, to venter in the 
pretended voiage to the East Indias (the whiche it 
maie please the Lord to psper) and the Somes that 
they will adventure the xxij September 1 599," Master 
Staper is down for 500, and the total reached was 
.30,133 6s. 8d. At an assembly of adventurers two 
days later it was decided to limit the subscriptions to 
a minimum of 200 so far as new comers were con- 
cerned, but Staper, who was a member of the General 
Committee, increased his contribution, and by August 
28, 1601, his " Bill of Adventure " was sealed at 800. 

Sainsbury continues the record from the Court 
minutes. Thus in September, 1607, we find that 
Mr. Staper is returned as a debtor to the Company ; 
in June, 1608, the month and year of the veteran 
adventurer's death, it is recorded that one John 
Mednoll writes from the Indies " to his master Rich. 
Staper," offering his services to the Company for 
1,500 "in hand." In October, 1609, " Hewett, son 
of Richard Staper, merchant," is admitted to the 
Company ; the Christian name of the new member is 
suggestive of his father's connection with the Osborne 
family. The last time that the name "Stapers" 
occurs in the calendar, at any rate in the early years 
of the history of the East India Company, bears the 
date August 19, 1614, when it is stated: "Newman 



employed by Mr. Stapers, Abbott and others, to 
recover goods from John Midnall who died at the 
King's Court at Adsmere (Ajmere). There is some 
hope of getting the goods." The Midnall, or Mednoll, 
referred to was sent out by Richard Staper, as we 
have already seen, and thus we have evidence that to 
the end of his days this enterprising merchant was at 
work, by means of his agents, in developing the 
Eastern trade. 

In the church of St. Helen, Bishopsgate, on the 
north wall of the nave, is an elaborate mural monu- 
ment, which was removed from St. Martin's Outwich, 
now pulled down, in 1874. It bears the following 
inscription : 

Here Resteth the Bodie of the 
Worshipfvl Richard Staper Electid 
Alderman of this Citye Anno 1594. Hee 
Was the Greatest Merchant in His 
Tyme: the Chief est Actor in Discovere of 
The Trades of Tvrkey and East 
India, a man hvmble in Prosperity, 
Paynefvl and ever ready in the 
Affayres Pvbliqve and Discreetly 

Careful of His Private. A Liberal 
Howsekeeper. Bowntifvl to the Poore: 
An Vpright Dealer in the World, and 
A Divovt Aspirer after the World to 
Come, mvch blest in His Posterity, and 
Happy in His and their Alliances. He 
Dyed the last Jvne, Anno Domine 1608 
Intravit vt Exirit 

Richard Hakiuyt, The list of correspondents and per- 
father of modern sonal associates of Fitch and Newberie 
would be incomplete without some brief 
reference to one whose enthusiastic industry has pre- 
served for us the story of their journey. Born in 
1553 in Herefordshire, of a family supposed to be of 
Dutch origin, Hakluyt was educated at Westminster 
School, and having been elected to a studentship at 
Christ Church, Oxford, proceeded to his degree and 
took holy orders. His love of geography is said to 
have been kindled by a cousin of the same name, a 


member of the Middle Temple, and such was his 
ardour that he mastered no less than six languages in 
order to be able to peruse all the narratives of travel 
and adventure he could procure, afterwards lecturing 
on these subjects. It is said of him, by one who has 
every authority to speak on such a topic, that he 
" began to see two great needs of his country, and set 
himself to work with patriotic zeal to remedy the 
evils. The first was caused by the ignorance of our 
seamen as regards the scientific branch of their pro- 
fession. The second was the absence of records, and 
the way in which important voyages and travels were 
allowed to fall into oblivion. He strove, during a 
long life, with great ability and untiring perseverance 
to remedy these evils ; and the measure of success he 
attained justly places his name among those of 
worthies who have deserved well of their country." 
In 1582 he published "Divers Voyages touching 
the Discovery of America," which has been described, 
not inaptly, as our "first impetus to colonisation." 
He proceeded to Paris the following year, as Chaplain 
to Sir Edward Stafford, English Ambassador. Pur- 
suing his inquiries in this new sphere Hakluyt, in 
1584, produced "A Particular Discourse concerning 
Western Discoveries," which was followed in 1587 by 
his translation of Laudonniere's Journal and " De 
Orbe Novo Petri Martyris Anglerii, Decades Octo, 
illustratse labore et industria Ricardi Hakluyti." 
Having been given the reversion of a prebendal stall 
at Bristol by the Queen, to which he succeeded in 
1586, he returned to England in 1588, and the next 
year appeared his " Principall Navigations," published 


in a single volume and dedicated to Sir Francis 
Walsingham. Appointed to the rectory of Wether- 
ingsett, Suffolk, in 1590, Hakluyt devoted himself to 
the production of his great work in three volumes, 
bearing a title almost identical in terms to the one 
just mentioned. The first appeared in 1 598 (with a cor- 
rected title-page in 1 599), and the series was completed 
in 1600. He laboured at his task with enthusiastic 
devotion. " Nothing could stop or daunt him when 
there was a chance of obtaining new information. 
He rode 200 miles to have an interview with the last 
survivor of Master Here's expedition to America in 
1536. He saved numerous journals and narratives 
from destruction and the deeds they record from 
oblivion. His work gave a stimulus to colonial and 
maritime enterprise, and it inspired our literature. 
Shakespeare owed much to Hakluyt's ' Principal 
Navigations ' ; Milton owed much more. He declared 
geography and chronology to be the sun and the 
moon, the right eye and the left of all history." In 
1602 Hakluyt was appointed prebendary of West- 
minster, and became archdeacon the following year. 
In 1604 he was one of the chaplains of the Savoy. 
The last of his publications was a translation from the 
Portuguese of the travels of Ferdinand de Soto, which 
appeared in 1609 under the title of " Virginia Richly 

But besides his untiring energy in collecting and 
translating materials for his invaluable books, we have 
ample evidence that Richard Hakluyt continued to 
put forth every effort in furtherance of the work about 
which he wrote so much for the benefit of his country- 


men. That he was on terms of intimacy with the 
travellers and explorers themselves we have already 
had one instance, in the letter written to him by 
Newberie from Aleppo. His wide knowledge and 
timely advice contributed much to the successful 
foundation of the East India Company. One or two 
extracts from the First Minute Book, as reproduced 
by Stevens, speak for themselves. Hakluyt's name 
first appears as " Hacklett," under date October 16, 
1 599, when he attended a meeting of the " Com- 
mittees," Richard Staper being present The next 
entry giving his name is on January 29, 1600: 

" Mr. Hacklett the historiographer of the viages of the 
East Indies, beinge here before the Comitties and having 
read vnto them out of his notes and bookes divers 
instruccons for provisions of Jewelles, was required to sett 
downe in wryting a note of the principall places in the East 
Indies wher Trade (was) is to be had to thend the same 
may be vsed for the better instruccon of o r factors in the 
said voyage." 

The following interesting minute is recorded on 
February 16, 1600, and this appears to be the 
last reference to Hakluyt in the books of the 
Company : 

" Ther is geaven to Mr. (Ald r ) Hackett by thassent of this 
assemblie for his travelles taken in instruccons and advyses 
touching the preparing of the voyage and for his former 
advyses in setting the voyage in hand the Last yere the 
somme of ten poundes and xxx s for 3 mappes by him pro- 
vided and dd to the companie the same money to be p d him 
by M r Aid. Hollyday." 


During the last years of his life his attention appears 
to have been chiefly directed to the Virginian 
colonisation scheme. He was one of the chief pro- 
moters of the petition for patents addressed to James 
I. in 1606 ; his book on the subject, as already 
mentioned, was published in 1609, and he was a lead- 
ing adventurer in the London, or South Virginia, 
Company. Richard Hakluyt died on November 23, 
1616, and was interred at Westminster Abbey ; he 
was twice married, in or about 1594 and in 1604. 
Up to the time of his death Hakluyt appears to have 
been engaged in the work for which posterity owes 
him so much gratitude. He left a large collection 
of manuscripts, most of which came into the hands 
of the Rev. Samuel Purchas, of St. Martin's, Lud- 
gate Hill, whose " Pilgrimes " was published with 
" Hakluytus Posthumus " on the title-page, and, not- 
withstanding sundry faults, have proved a mine of 
literary wealth. 1 

1 For the bibliography of Hakluyt see " Dictionary of National 
Biography." The quotations are from the address of Sir 
Clements Markham, F.R.S., President, at the fiftieth anniver- 
sary meeting of the Hakluyt Society, December 15, 1896. 



DURING the eight years' absence of Master 
Ralph Fitch public affairs in Europe, and the 
work of adventure, exploration, and expansion by his 
own countrymen, had been making rapid progress. 
In the year after his departure, 1584, the infamous 
ban issued by Philip of Spain against the Prince of 
Orange took effect, and William the Silent fell by the 
hand of the assassin Balthasar Gerard. The shock 

1 The episode in the long fight with the Spanish Armada 
which is reproduced on the opposite page is from a volume in 
large folio, which may be seen in the Print Room of the British 
Museum. It is entitled : " The Tapestry Hangings of the 
House of Lords representing the several engagements between 
the English and Spanish Fleets in the ever memorable year 
MDLXXXVIII., with the portraits of the Lord High Admiral, and 
the other Noble Commanders, taken from the Life," &c. ; a 
series of charts is added, and an account of each day's action 
"from the most Authentic Manuscripts and Writers." The 
work was published in 1739 by John Pine, engraver, who was 



caused in England by this outrage was intensified by 
the discovery of the Throgmorton Conspiracy to 
murder the Queen and to place Mary of Scots upon 
the throne, which was immediately followed by the 
rupture of diplomatic relations with Spain and the 
expulsion of the ambassador Mendoza. Thus at 
last the two countries became open enemies. Antwerp, 
the great commercial centre to which much of the 
growing Eastern trade had been attracted, fell before 
Alexander of Parma in 1585, after a memorable siege, 
and the Earl of Leicester was sent to the help of the 
Netherlands on a futile expedition, which is chiefly 
remembered for the death of his nephew, Sir Philip 
Sidney, at Zutphen, in 1586. Another elaborate con- 
spiracy against Elizabeth's life, in which Mary of 
Scots was implicated by the ever-watchful Walsing- 
ham, was then made public. It appears to have been 
hatched at Rheims, and Anthony Babington, who 
had charge of the scheme in England, was executed 
in 1586, Mary herself being brought to the block in 
1587. Meanwhile Drake had been busy. In 1585 he 
left Plymouth, with Frobisher as a lieutenant, to 

informed that "the Designs of the Tapestry were made by 
Henry Cornelius Vroom, a famous Painter of Harlem, eminent 
for his great Skill in drawing of all Sorts of Shipping : and that 
it was Wove by Francis Spiring." The tapestries were involved 
in the great fire which wrecked the Houses of Parliament in 
1834, a circumstance which lends additional interest to Mr. 
Pine's fine collection. Each engraving, with its border of 
portraits, covers two pages of the volume, and as to the one 
now reproduced the compiler quotes Camden to the effect that 
eight fire-ships were sent among the Spaniards off Calais and 
caused a panic. 


harry the Spanish colonies ; he set off again in 1587 
to carry out his famous exploit against Spain itself, 
and to " singe the beard " of Philip who was preparing 
for his great attack on England. The year 1588 
witnessed Spain's debacle. The " Invincible Armada " 
set forth in May, 1588 to return in broken fragments, 
typical alike of the collapse of Philip's worldwide 
ambitions and the beginning of Britain's claim to the 
supremacy of the sea. 

It is remarkable that in the interval 

" Virginia " 

of eight years no further attempt was 
made by the English to tap the riches of the Golden 
East, though the final crippling of the Spanish sea 
power was quickly followed by incursions direct into 
the Eastern seas, as is related below. But there was 
no lack of enterprise in the North and West, and 
even an attempt at colonisation. The Queen in 1584 
issued letters patent to Raleigh, similar in terms to 
the charter granted to Gilbert referred to in an earlier 
chapter, and in that year he despatched two small 
ships to explore from the coast of Florida north- 
wards. They returned the same year, and in 1585 
Raleigh sent a larger expedition under Richard Gren- 
ville, with Ralph Lane as governor of the new colony 
of Virginia, which was to be established on the shores 
of North Carolina, one of the party being Thomas 
Cavendish, who was afterwards to become famous as 
the second English circumnavigator. Little but 
disaster and misrule, however, attended the enter- 
prise, and in 1586 Drake, on his return from the West 
Indies expedition of 1585, brought Lane and his 
colonists home. Soon afterwards Grenville arrived 


with supplies, and finding the island of Roanoke 
deserted by his countrymen, left fifteen men, well 
provisioned, to hold the settlement. A fourth 
expedition was sent out by Raleigh, under Captain 
White, in 1587, the latter being again despatched in 
I S9O, but it was not till the formation of a new 
company in 1606 that the successful colonisation 
was actually begun. Concurrently with these efforts 
John Davis had been pursuing the quest for a 
northerly route to Cathay. He completed his three 
years' voyages to the North West in 1585-6-7, but 
no further attempt to reach the Far East by steering 
a northerly course was made during the Queen's 
reign, with the exception of an abortive expedition 
in 1602 undertaken by one George Way mouth at 
the joint charge of the newly formed East India 
Company and the Muscovy Company. In 1588 
Cavendish had completed his voyage round the 
world. In 1591 he sailed again on his last and 
unfortunate expedition, during which he died of a 
broken heart, Davis, the navigator, returning with 
the remnants of his party in 1593. 
_ , ... "In 1640," remarks Hunter in his 

Portuguese in the 

East-past and historical summing-up (vol. vi.), " Por- 
tugal again became a separate country. 
But in the meanwhile the Dutch and English had 
appeared in the Eastern seas; and before their 
indomitable competition the Portuguese empire of 
the Indies withered away as rapidly as it had sprung 
up. The period of the highest development of the 
Portuguese Commerce was probably from 1590 to 
1610, on the eve of the subversion of their com- 


mercial power by the Dutch, and when their political 
dominion in India was at its lowest depth of degra- 
dation. . . . The only remaining Portuguese poses- 
sions in India are Goa, Daman, and Diu, all on the 
west coast, with a total area of 2,365 square miles." 
It is not the purpose here to deal with all the colonial 
possessions of Portugal in Africa and elsewhere, but 
to the Eastern and Far Eastern list we must add 
Macao, the only established centre of their commerce 
which Master Fitch did not visit. This brings up 
the roll to four places, which affords a miserable com- 
parison with the claims put forward by the historian 
Faria y Sousa in an addendum to his third volume. 
" The Portuguese Empire to the Eastward," he says, 
"extends from the Cape of Good Hope in Africk, 
to Cape Liampo in China, distant from one another 
4000 Leagues along the Seacoasts, without including 
the shores of the Red Sea and Persian Golph, which 
make about 1200 Leagues. Between this space lies 
half Africk, and all Asia with innumerable Islands 
adjoining to those vast Parts of the World." He 
divides the whole region into seven parts, and in 
each case enumerates the actual Portuguese settle- 
ments and bishoprics. As to the last two he states : 
" The sixth Division between Ganges and Cape 
Singapura, contains the vast Kingdoms of Bengala, 
Pegu, Tanazarim, and others of less Note. Here 
we have the City Malaca, a Bishop's Seat, and the 
last place we possess in the Eastern Continent. The 
seventh Division between the Capes Singapura and 
Liampo, contains the Kingdoms of Pam, Lugor, 
Siam, Cambodia, Tsiompa, Cochinchina, and vast 


Empire of China. Here we have no place but the 
City Macao yet Trade all along those Coasts." 

At Macao, at present little more than a pleasure 
resort, and, indeed, a nest of gamblers, the Portuguese 
were permitted by the Chinese to erect factories as 
early as 1557. The Jesuits having established them- 
selves at the settlement, Gregory XIII. constituted 
a bishopric of Macao in 1580; a senate was organised 
in 1583, and in 1628 Jeronimo de Silveira became 
the first royal governor. The Chinese suzerainty, 
however, was not thrown off till 1 849. " One classic 
memory, however, may save Macao from oblivion. 
It was here that the exiled Camoens composed the 
greater part of his Lusiads. On one of the hillsides 
overlooking the bay is an extensive old shrubbery, 
where narrow paths twist in and out among gnarled 
and ancient trees, and where half a dozen enormous 
boulders heaped together form a natural archway 
or grotto the Gruta de Camdes. Camoens was 
appointed Provedor dos defuntos e ausentes Com- 
missary for the Defunct and the Absent in Macao, 
and is supposed to have come here every day to work 
at his great task." A bronze bust of the poet was 
erected in I84O. 1 

It will be interesting here to recall 
the fact that the Spaniards made an 
early appearance in the Eastern seas 
on their own account. Magellan, in his circum- 
navigation, discovered the Philippines in 1521, and 
lost his life there shortly after his arrival. When 
the news reached Europe that the celebrated voyager 
1 "Peoples and Politics of the Far East," p. 189. 



had appeared in the Moluccas, and that conflicts had 
occurred between the Spanish and Portuguese in that 
region, a quarrel arose between Spain and Portugal. 
The Bull of Alexander VI. was produced by both 
sides, but eventually, by an agreement made at 
Saragossa, April 22, 1529, Spain sold her claim to 
her rival for 350,000 ducats of gold, but retained 
the right of pre-emption. But the Portuguese, 
although they insisted on their monopoly of the 
spice trade, never got a firm grip of the group, which 
eventually came into the hands of the Spanish. In 
1543 Villalobos sailed to the islands from Mexico, 
and was the first to suggest the present name by 
calling Samar Filipina, while in 1565 Legazpi 
founded the settlement of San Miguel at Cebu ; in a 
letter of Legazpi's of 1 567, it is stated, the name Islas 
Filipinas appears for the first time. The English 
captured Manila in October, 1762, and proceeded to 
subjugate the province. Attacked by the Hispano- 
Tagal forces, they were hemmed in at Manila and 
were nearly reduced by famine, when peace was 
declared, the town being restored in March, I/64. 1 
" The Dutch were the first European 
t T h h e e E D a U 8t Chin nation who broke through the Portu- 
guese monopoly," says Hunter. To 
begin with, they, like the English, endeavoured to 
get to Asia by following a northern course, and it 
will be remembered that Linschoten was associated 

1 Danvers's " Portuguese in Asia," vol. i. chap. xiv. ; also 
" The Philippine Islands," edited for the Hakluyt Society by 
Lord Stanley of Alderley, in which appears the portrait of 


with their earlier efforts in that direction. But the 
rapid developments of this historical period with 
the disastrous policy of Spain as the primary cause 
turned their attention to the bolder course of follow- 
ing the Cape route, with which their indefatigable 
countryman had made them familiar. There was 
the further circumstance that their chief ports had 
become the European centres for the Indian trade. 
Danvers says that when Antwerp fell before the 
attacks of the Duke of Parma in 1585 this circum- 
stance, coupled with its disastrous experiences of 
Spanish occupation and pillage, brought about com- 
mercial ruin and the transfer of trade to Amsterdam 
and Hamburg, " a fact which the Dutch did not fail 
to realise." I Hunter, in his usual terse fashion, puts 
it : " During the sixteenth century Bruges, Antwerp, 
and Amsterdam became successively the great 
emporiums where Indian produce, imported by the 
Portuguese, was distributed to Germany, and even to 
England." Thus, while the Dutch were not the first 
Europeans to send a rival fleet to India via the Cape 
we refer to Lancaster's voyage in 1591, dealt with 
in the next division they were the first to under- 
take the enterprise on systematic lines. 

In 1594 a company, called the Company of Foreign 
Merchants, was formed in Holland, and Cornelius 
Houtman, with a fleet of four ships, left the Texel at 
the beginning of 1 595. This Dutch pioneer-navigator 
reached Bantam, and returned with three of his vessels, 

1 " Letters Received by the East India Company from its 
Servants in the East," by Mr. F. C. Danvers ; introduction 
(Sampson Low, 1896). 


richly laden with spices and other produce, in 1 597. 
Several other companies were set on foot for trade 
with the East in fact before Houtman's return 
another expedition was sent out under the command 
of James Van Neck. It is a remarkable fact that 
two celebrated Englishmen took leading parts in 
these early efforts of the Hollanders. In 1 598, when 
Houtman set forth on his second expedition, in which 
he lost his life, John Davis accompanied him as chief 
pilot. The same year a fleet of five ships left 
Rotterdam with William Adams, the first English- 
man to visit Japan, on board as pilot-major. By 
1602 the States-General had decreed the amalgama- 
tion of the various companies in the United Provinces 
into the Dutch East India Company. 

The appearance of the Dutch in the Eastern seas 
bore immediate fruit in the shape of constant conflicts 
with the Portuguese, which developed into a fierce 
rivalry with the English. The manner in which they 
pushed their way through the crumbling pretensions 
of Portugal during the twenty years which followed 
Houtman's first voyage is a feature of the history of 
this most active period. Danvers, in the work just 
quoted, states : "Towards the end of the year 1613 
the Dutch already had factories and castles in the 
following ports : viz., Bantam, Jakatra, Grasse, Suc- 
cadana, Macassar, Patani, Siam, Achin, Bouton, 
Amboyna, Bakean, Makjan, Motir, Tidore, Ternate, 
Japan, Bandar, and Solor. . . . The English at this 
time could boast of no other properly established 
factory than that at Bantam, although they did carry 
on an uncertain trade in the Moluccas and at places 


in Sumatra. . . . On the peninsula of India also the 
English were prevented from taking advantage of 
the opportunities that presented themselves owing 
to a want of means." Taking a wider range, Hunter 
gives us a still more comprehensive view of the 
brilliant, if comparatively short, record of their 
supremacy in the East and on the way thither. 
"Within fifty years," he says, "the Dutch had 
established factories on the continent of India, in 
Ceylon, in the Persian Gulf, and in the Red Sea, 
besides having obtained exclusive possession of the 
Moluccas. . . . During the seventeenth century the 
Dutch were the foremost maritime power in the world. 
Their memorable massacre of the English at Amboyna 
in 1623 forced the British company to retire from 
the Eastern Archipelago to the continent of India" 
a result, it is pointed out, which led to the foundation 
of that Indian Empire which exists to-day. 

As in the case of Portugal, a comparison between 
the present Eastern possessions of the Netherlands 
and what they promised to be two centuries or more 
ago affords ample ground for reflection. The pos- 
sessions and protectorates of the kingdom of Holland 
in the archipelago include, among other islands, Java 
and Madura, Sumatra, parts of New Guinea, and of 
Borneo, the Moluccas and Celebes. But the most 
friendly critic would now find it difficult to become 
enthusiastic in regard to the administration of these 
thickly populated and fertile " colonies." In India 
and Ceylon the Dutch flag is not seen at all, though 
there are traces of their settlements at various places 
for instance, Chinsurah, Negapatam, and Jaffnapatam. 


It must not be forgotten that they discovered 
Australia, and that to this day the passage between 
Ceylon and the Indian peninsula still bears the name 
of a Dutch governor, Palk. 

" The defeat of the Spanish Armada 
a PP ears to nave greatly stimulated Eng- 
lish maritime enterprise, by inspiring 
the people with additional confidence in their national 
superiority at sea; and in October, 1589, less than 
one year after that event, a body of English 
merchants memorialised the Queen for permission 
to send ships to trade with India." z The outcome, 
apparently, was the Raymond expedition which 
sailed from Plymouth on April 10, 1591 nineteen 
days before Fitch arrived in London from his 
own perilous journey. The fleet consisted of three 
tall ships : the Penelope, commanded by Captain 
George Raymond, who had charge of the enterprise ; 
the Merchant Royal, Captain Abraham Kendal ; 
and the Edward Bonaventure, Captain James Lan- 
caster. The story of this voyage, which is of so 
much interest to the British of the present day, was 
told to Hakluyt (vol. ii. part ii.) by Edmund Barker 
of Ipswich, Lancaster's lieutenant ; another account, 
by one Henry May, is preserved in Purchas's 
" Pilgrimes." 2 Beaten about by adverse winds, they 

1 Danvers, " Letters," introduction. 

2 Both narratives appear in "The Voyages of Sir James 
Lancaster to the East Indies," edited by Mr. (now Sir) Clements 
R. Markham for the Hakluyt Society. Barker's version is 
followed in the above summary, but it may be added that May 
states that Samuel Foxcroft was captain of the Merchant Royal 


did not come in sight of the Cape till the end of July, 
when, in order to refresh the crews, many of whom 
were " weake and sicke," they put into an adjacent 
bay on the eastward side, the Agoada (watering- 
place) de Saldanha. 1 Here it was decided to send 
back the Merchant Royal with fifty men, " whereof 
there were many pretty well recovered," and continue 
the journey with those who were " sound and whole " 
that is, unaffected by the scurvy. The Penelope, with 
one hundred and one men, and the Edward with a 
complement of ninety-seven, again set sail in company, 
but not for long. On September I4th, when off Cape 
Corrientes, they encountered a great storm, in which 
the Penelope (Captain Raymond) disappeared and was 
never seen again. Thus Captain Lancaster was left 
to proceed on the voyage alone or to return. He 
chose the former course, and entered upon a series of 
privateering adventures in the Bay of Bengal and 
among the Nicobars which rivalled the exploits of 
Drake in the West Indies. There was one feature of 
Lancaster's proceedings, however, which acquits him 
of the charge of common piracy. In the account 
before us it is stated that when a vessel which was 
seized was found to be owned, or laden, by others 
than the Portuguese it was allowed to go unmolested. 
In December, 1592, the Edward Bonaventure found 
her way back to the Point de Galle, Ceylon, where 

and second in command of the expedition, and that there was a 
fourth vessel in the shape of a "small pinesse" possibly used 
for victualling purposes and then abandoned. 

1 Markham (p. 62) states that Saldanha Bay of De Barros 
and the Early English and Dutch navigators is our Table Bay. 


Lancaster intended to lie in wait for the Bengal 
Fleet. Bat he was attacked by sickness, and the 
crew having become weary of their wanderings, it 
was determined to sail for home a voyage which 
was to prove utterly disastrous. A pathetic incident 
occurred on their arrival at St. Helena. Here they 
found one John Legar (or Segar) of Bury, Suffolk, 
who had been left behind by the Merchant Royal 
to recover from severe illness. The man had become 
half-demented, and the unexpected appearance of his 
countrymen appears to have brought about a con- 
dition of excitement which proved fatal to him 
within a few days. On leaving the island contrary 
winds and unknown currents carried the Edward 
across the Atlantic, and a course was set to find the 
Isle of Trinidad to re-provision. After a series of 
arduous adventures among the West Indian islands, 
the Edward, as she lay one night in November, 1593, 
off the Island of Mona (between Puerto Rico and 
San Domingo), either broke away or was cut adrift 
with five men and a boy aboard. Meanwhile Henry 
May appears to have been sent to England on a 
French ship, and thus there were left on the island 
Captain Lancaster and eighteen men the miserable 
remnant of the ninety-seven who sailed eastward from 
the Cape. Barker accounts for the whole number. 
Twelve were taken by two French vessels to San 
Domingo, seven who had wandered into the island 
being left behind. Soon afterwards a vessel of 
Newhaven appeared at San Domingo with two of 
the seven, reporting that three had been killed by 
the Spaniards, and two had broken their necks in 


trying to catch fowls on the cliffs. Captain Lancaster 
and Lieutenant Barker, leaving the rest of their crew, 
who seem to have been well treated on the other 
French ships, to follow, took passage in a vessel 
commanded by a Captain la Noe for Dieppe. They 
then crossed to Rye, where they landed on May 19 
1594, after an absence of over three years. Thus 
ended the first English voyage, via the Cape, to India. 1 

Another independent venture to the Indian seas 
took place in 1596, principally at the cost of Sir 
Robert Dudley, the fleet consisting of three vessels, 
the Bear, the Beards Whelp, and the Benjamin, under 
the supreme command of Captain Benjamin Wood. 
Sainsbury tells us that Queen Elizabeth entrusted a 
letter for the Emperor of China to two merchants 
who joined the expedition, Richard Allen and 
Thomas Bromfield. The last heard of this fleet 
seems to have been contained in a letter received by 
Cecil from Lisbon, in September, 1 598, which stated 
that news had come to hand that two English ships 
" in the India" had taken two Portuguese ships, rich in 
treasure, on their way from Goa to China ; the writer 
" supposes it is Captain Wood in Mr. Dudley's ships." 

Captain James Lancaster, whose pioneer voyage 
round the Cape is briefly recorded above, was con- 
spicuous among the maritime adventurers of the time. 
Little is known of his early days, but he is said to 

1 A still earlier attempt is related in " A Forgotten Voyage of 
John Davis," contributed by Mr. W. Foster to the Geographical 
Journal, August, 1893. The navigator sailed with one John 
Sanderson in the Samaritan for India in September, 1590, but 
got no further than Madeira. 


have been a native of Basingstoke, and to have spent 
some time in Portugal both as soldier and merchant. 
Returning to England before the definite outbreak of 
war with Spain, he commanded the Edward Bona- 
venture, described as of 300 tons, serving under Drake 
against the Spanish Armada. Soon after his Indian 
adventure, in fact within a month or two of his home- 
coming without his ship, Lancaster was entrusted 
with the general command of three vessels, fitted out 
by the merchants and aldermen of the City of London 
for a privateering expedition against Pernambuco, 
which proved highly successful. His next and last 
voyage was in command of the first fleet despatched 
by the East India Company. On his return in 1603 
he was knighted. One of the first directors of the 
Company, he henceforward took a most active part 
in its affairs, and appears to have been held in high 
esteem. Baffin gave his name to one of the Sounds 
in the frozen north-west. Sir James died in May or 
June, i6i8. J 

The next, and, as to its permanent 

results > tne last sta g e in laying the foun- 
dations of our Indian Empire was the 
formation of the first East India Company. Some 
account has been given in preceding chapters of both 
men and methods in the earliest days of the associa- 
tion of merchants and navigators for commerce with 
the East and Far East. The time had now come for 
prompt action. Sir George Birdwood writes : " In 

1 " First Letter Book of the East India Company," edited by 
Sir George Birdwood, assisted by Mr. William Foster, p. 2 
(Quaritch, 1893). " Dictionary of National Biography." 


1599, the Dutch, who had now firmly established 
their trade in the East, having raised the price of 
pepper against us from 35. per Ib. to 6s. and 8s., the 
merchants of London held a meeting on the 24th 
September 'at Founders' Hall/ under the Lord Mayor, 
and agreed to form an association for the purpose of 
establishing direct trade with India. Queen Elizabeth 
also sent Sir John Mildenhall by way of Constanti- 
nople to the Great Mogul to apply for privileges for 
the English Company, for whom she was then pre- 
paring a charter; and on the 3ist December, 1600, 
the English East India Company was incorporated 
by Royal Charter under the title of the Governor 
and Company of Merchants of London trading into 
the East Indies." l An incident which is very 
suggestive is recorded by the same authority. 
When, in 1592, some English privateers captured 
the great Portuguese carrack Madre de Dios, and 
brought her into Dartmouth, they found amongst 
their plunder " The Notable Register or Matricola 
of the whole Government and Trade of the Portu- 
guese in the East Indies." It was on this unique 
document that the memorial to the Queen in 1599 
was founded. In his " Lancaster " (p. 2) Markham 
gives the following as one of the immediate incentives 
in the formation of the Company : " In 1599, the full 
report of Dr. Thorne, who resided at Seville, on the 
advantages of a trade with India, and other informa- 
tion, including that obtained by Lancaster during his 
first voyage, induced the merchants and adventurers 

1 "Report on the Old Records of the India Office," p. 179 
(W. H. Allen and Co., 1891). 


of London to project an expedition, and eventually 
to form a Company, with the object of establishing a 
trade with the East Indies." It maybe fairly claimed 
that the " other information " comprised the fruits of 
the labours, foresight, and actual travel, of such men 
as Osborne and Staper, Eldred, and Hakluyt, and 
last, but not least, Ralph Fitch. 

The first voyage undertaken by the Company, 
1601-3, was under the command of the indomitable 
Lancaster, with John Middleton, who died at Bantam, 
1603, as second in command. It consisted of five 
vessels, the Mare (or Malice} Scurge, which was 
re-christened the Red Dragon, the Hector, Ascension, 
Great Susan, and the much smaller vessel Guift, or 
Guest, which was used as a store-ship. John Davis, 
who had already made the voyage to the East Indies 
under the Dutch pioneer Houtman, embarked as 
chief pilot. Some interesting figures have been 
collated in regard to the fleet. The Mare Scurge, 
600 tons, was bought from the Earl of Cumberland 
for 3,700 (then value) and manned with a comple- 
ment of 200, the Hector had 100 men, the Great 
Susan (which cost 1,600*) So men, and the Ascension 
80 men ; while the Guest cost $oo. 1 The first twelve 
voyages down to 1612, known as the "Separate" 
voyages, were undertaken at the risk of the sub- 

1 Markham furnishes slightly different figures as to the ton- 
nage and the manning of the vessels (p. iv). He adds the 
interesting statement that Davis received a "bill of adventure," 
which was to bring him ^500 if the voyage yielded two for one, 
;i,ooo if three for one, ^1,500 if four for one, and ^2,000 if five 
for one. 


scribers, but, in view of the increasing competition 
with the Dutch and Portuguese, the Company then 
decided that they should be made as joint-stock 
enterprises. The first "joint-stock" fleet of four 
vessels, Downton in command, was despatched in 
1613, and Sir Thomas Roe proceeded on his famous 
embassy to Jehangir, the son of Akbar, in I6I5. 1 
All the " Separate " voyages, excepting the fourth, 
were very prosperous, the clear profits hardly ever 
being below 100 per cent, and in general yielding an 
average of 138. In spite of the opposition of the 
Dutch, the returns on the four voyages of the first 
" joint-stock " account amounted to 87 J per cent, on 
the subscribed capital. 2 " This period of purely 
commercial operations may be divided into three 
well-marked sub-periods : the first from 1600 to 1623, 
the date of the ' Massacre of Amboyna,' during which 
the Company pushed its trade in the East Indies 
under the greatest difficulties, but without exciting 
much popular attention ; the second from 1623 to 
1660, during which, partly in consequence of the 
national solicitude aroused by the massacre of the 
Company's agents at Amboyna, a general competition 
was rapidly developed throughout the country for a 
participation in the commerce of the East Indies ; 

1 See " The Embassy of Sir Thomas Roe to the Court of the 
Great Mogul," by Mr. William Foster (Hakluyt Society, 1899). 

2 The figures are from Bird wood's " Report," and Sainsbury in 
the "Calendar" furnishes many interesting details as to the 
preparations and proceedings of the Company. Danvers, in his 
"Letters" (introduction), mentions that the clear profits on the 
first two voyages amounted to 95 per cent., and on the third to 
no less than 234 per cent. 


and the third and last, from 1660 to 1709, during 
which this disastrous rivalry at length resulted in the 
amalgamation of the ' London/ or ' Old/ and the 
' English/ or ' New/ Companies, in the ' United 
Company of Merchants of England trading into the 
East Indies/ commonly known as the Honourable 
East India Company ; whose great commercial 
Empire was sequestrated to the British Crown in 

This brief record of how modern England came to 
possess her Indian heritage would be incomplete 
without one or two personal references. Two great 
maritime pioneers were sacrificed in the opening up 
of the East. John Davis, who sailed again in 1604 
as pilot in an independent venture by Sir Edward 
Michelbourne, was killed, December 17, 1605, ' m an 
encounter with a Japanese junk off Bintang in the 
Straits of Malacca. William Baffin, who set sail in 
the Company's fleet under Captain Shillinge, February, 
1620, died in January 1621, of a wound, received 
in a fight with the Portuguese in the Island of 
Kishm, south of Ormuz, and was buried there. The 
romantic story of William Adams has been retold by 
the aid of documentary evidence recently investigated. 
Arriving with the remnant of the Dutch fleet, of 
which, it will be remembered, he was pilot-major, on 
the coast of Japan in 1600, he first heard of the 
appearance of his countrymen in the Eastern 
Archipelago in 1611. In reply to a communication 
from him the Company sent an expedition to Japan, 
and in 1613 their ship Clove, under the command of 
1 " First Letter Book," p. 13. 


Captain Saris, received a welcome which led to the 
establishment of the first English factory in the charge 
of Richard Cox or Cocks. Thus the English reached 
the furthest centre of importance in the far East 
within three and twenty years of the return of 
Ralph Fitch, the pioneer Englishman to the East ; 
the first to tell his countrymen, from the evidence 
of his personal observation, of the wealth that lay 
under the rising sun. 1 

In no part of the British Empire in 

tf n B^f UmpSe the East has the chan g e of rule been 
more marked, or have the benefits thus 

conferred been more striking, than in Burma. Three 
centuries ago the whole of the fertile delta was laid 
waste, as the result of many years of war, conquest, 
and reconquest. The subsequent history of the 
country, from the sea, up the river valleys, to the 
mountains, was to a large extent a repetition of what 
had gone before, till we come to the romantic 
story of Alompra (Alaunghpra), the hunter from the 
woods, who filled the role of conqueror and king 
with considerable success and founded a dynasty. 
Our three Burmese wars of the present century 
culminated in the annexation of the upper and 
remaining portion of the country by proclamation on 
January I, 1886, and the deportation of the last 
monarch, Thibaw, whose reign at Mandalay had been 
marked by the worst features of an Oriental despotism. 
The pacification of Burma, the advancement to its 

1 For interesting details concerning Adams, see Danvers's 
" Letters." The " Diary of Richard Cocks " has been edited for 
the Hakluyt Society by Sir E. Maunde Thompson. 


present condition of contentment and prosperity, is a 
marvel of modern annexation. In spite of the dis- 
turbed condition of the upper country in 1886, with 
no governing class worthy of the name, with 
organised dacoity rampant in all directions, with the 
ever- threatening and lawless hill-tribes on the north, 
east, and west, and, above all, with the crudest 
notions of loyalty, confidence, or obedience among 
the masses of the people notwithstanding this 
anarchical state of affairs which the monarchy, just 
removed, encouraged rather than suppressed, it was 
found possible in ten short years to remove the 
country, as a whole, from under the immediate super- 
vision of the Indian Government. On May I, 1897, 
Burma was erected into a Lieutenant-Governorship 
under Sir Frederick Fryer, who, it was pointed out at 
the time, thus had placed under his direct rule, aided 
by a Legislative Council, a country as large as France, 
including the two Savoy provinces and the island of 
Corsica. It is not necessary to make more than 
passing reference to the continued progress of Burma 
since that time, for the official statistics are easily 
accessible. It is sufficient to state that, in the returns 
for 1896-7, Rangoon (founded by Alompra) stood 
third in the list of the six most important ports of 
our Indian Empire. An interesting and vivid light 
was thrown upon the subject in a speech recently 
delivered by the Marquis of Dufferin and Ava, who 
was Viceroy of India at the time of the annexation, 
and whose title includes a name associated with the 
ancient glories of the Burmese Empire. He spoke of 
the Burmese as a people " so attractive, amiable, and 


intelligent," and described them as " the only nation 
among whom we were not only respected and 
honoured but obeyed, and whose religion was the 
purest outside Christianity." x 

As to the future of Burma, it is well to bear in 
mind that she has, as next-door neighbour on the 
East, the vast empire of China. Soon after the 
annexation of 1885-6 the Government at Pekin set 
up, inter alia, an old and shadowy suzerainty, a claim 
which was met by a continuance of the decennial 
mission and the giving of presents. How far the 
final solution of the problem of the Far East may 
affect her future prosperity it would be out of place 
here to attempt to estimate, even on the basis, which 
is patent to all the world, of her redundancy of 
natural resources and the ample promise of her 
natural character. 

Without attributing too much to the 

c C o nTstr and results of the Fitch ex P edition > it: ma 7 
at least be claimed that the news that 

one solitary English traveller had passed and re- 
passed the mysterious portals of the East added fuel 
to the flame of adventure which burst forth as the 
result of the downfall of Spain as a sea-power. 
Lancaster began his first voyage to India, it has been 
pointed out, a few weeks before Fitch landed in 
London, but it is not improbable though we have 
no actual evidence of the fact that intelligence 
of his safety, with some account of his impressions of 
commercial prospects in the Indian seas, had reached 
England before him. He lingered awhile in Asia 
1 At the Burma Dinner held in London on June 16, 1898. 


Minor, and Aleppo had been for some years a depot 
for English trade. In any case he was in ample time 
to take an invaluable part in the first systematic 
movement which resulted in the formation of the 
first East India Company he came back, in fact, as 
a practical merchant to point out, for the first time, 
what were the possibilities and probabilities of a 
prosperous trade in the distant Indies. If any single 
man ever acted successfully in spying out a great and 
wealthy region for the benefit of his countrymen, 
Ralph Fitch did it. 

It is impossible to forget that the rise of the 
English in the East was accompanied by the incipient 
decay of the power ostensibly in possession. His- 
torical authorities generally agree in ascribing the 
remarkably sudden fall of Portuguese influence 
abroad to the union under the Crown of Spain, and 
the complications that resulted with other European 
nations. But when the rival fleets of the Dutch and 
English appeared in Eastern waters the thorough 
rottenness of the Portuguese colonial system, to which 
some reference has been made in the preceding pages, 
became exposed, and, so far as they were concerned, 
the fight for supremacy was a short one. The contest 
for the crown of the East, however, did not end here. 
There were the Dutch, whose rise was more brilliant 
and whose fall was only less rapid and complete than 
was the case with the nation they displaced. Their 
disappearance as a potential factor in the East is one 
of the startling facts of modern history. Possessed of 
many qualities which go to make a great, progressive 
nation, sturdy, enterprising, industrious, Holland 



never secured a firm hold upon the immediate results 
of her conquests in this region, and the most valuable 
of her acquisitions were soon wrenched, or slipped, 
from her grasp. Hunter, limiting himself to what 
may be described as the local argument, puts the case 
in two sentences : " The fall of the Dutch colonial 
empire resulted from its short-sighted commercial 
policy. It was deliberately based upon a monopoly 
of the trade in spices, and remained from first to last 
destitute of sound economical principles." Taking a 
more general view of the question in a comparative 
sense, Professor Seeley, in the interesting lectures 
already mentioned, urges that both Portugal and 
Holland had too small a basis. Moreover, the latter 
country was involved in European wars, while Eng- 
land, on the other hand, was but slightly connected 
with the European system. 

The fact remains that England, dating, as it were, 
from the enterprise of one of her typical sons, has 
become the heiress of the East. To enter upon a 
discussion of the question how she has retained and 
enlarged her hold would be a considerable undertaking. 
But of one thing we may boast, and that is, that in 
spite of one or two serious mistakes, she has solved 
the problem of colonial government Knit by ties 
unknown to the Portuguese, for example, and 
flourishing under a commercial system which the 
Dutch never seemed to be able to understand, Great 
and Greater Britain together, in the East and in all 
parts of the world, have opened an entirely new volume 
in the common history of mankind. 


[ The names quoted are used by Ralph Fitch, ] 


Adams, William, navigator, 243, 


Afhuysen, G. van, 176 
Agra, Fitch's account, 97 
Akbar ("Zelabdim Echebar"), the 

Great Moghul, letter from Queen 

Elizabeth, 44 ; his reign, 88 ; 

first Christian mission, 90 ; 

Fitch's story, 97 
Albuquerque, Alfonso de, 83 ; far 

Eastern trade, 1 24 ; cruelty at 

Goa, 128 
Aleppo, 48, 191 
Allahabad (" Prage"), 102 
Alompra, 149, 254, 255 
Alva, Duke of, gift from the Pope, 

5 ; plunders English at Antwerp, 


Anjou, Duke of, 9 
Antonio, Dom (Portuguese Pre- 
tender), 75 77, 78 

Babington conspiracy, 236 
Babylon (or Bagdad), 50, 190 
Bacon, Sir Nicholas, 7 
Baffin, William, navigator, 249, 


Bahrein (" Baharim ") Island, 54 
Balapur (" Bellapore "), 94 
Barisal ( k 'Bacola"), 118 
Bartholomew's Day, 8 
Bassein (or Cosmin), Burma, 154, 


Bassein Island (" Basaim"), 58 
Belgaum (" Bellergan "), 92 
Benares (" Bannaras "), 103 
Bhutan (" Bottanter "), 116 
Bijapur (" Bisapor "), 61, 93 
Bima, 181 
Bir, or Birejik ("Birra"), 49, 


Branginoco (Bureng Naung), see 


Burcherts, Bernard, 70, 79 
Burhanpur (" Barrampore "), 95 
Burleigh, Lord, reply to Papal Bull, 

7 ; commercial enterprise, 15 
Busra, or Bussorah, 53, 190 
Burma, visited by d'Acunha, 127, 
129 ; Silveira at Chittagong, 
129 ; Correa's treaty at Martaban, 
131 ; old description of Pegu 
(" Bagou "), 132. Historical 
summary : Rise of Taungu, 133 ; 
conquest of Pegu and first Por- 
tuguese mercenaries, 135 ; vic- 
tories of Branginoco as general, 
138 ; sack of Martaban, 139 ; 
fall of Prome, 142 ; attack on 
Siam, 143 ; death of the King 
Tabeng, 144 ; Branginoco's con- 
quests, 144 ; Zimme and Siam, 
147 ; death, 149 ; decay under 
Nanda Bureng, 150 ; early Euro- 
pean visitors, 151 ; modern 
Pegu, 152 ; present and future, 

Passage, 25 

Cambay (" Cambaietta "), 57 

Cash Capital of Fitch's party, 73, 

Cavendish, Thomas, circumnavi- 
gator, 237, 238 

Csesar, Frederick, 47, 81, 147, 151 

Cecil, see Burleigh 

Ceylon, Fitch's description, 182 

Chancelor, Richard, navigator, 25, 


Chaul, 58, 188 
China, Queen Elizabeth's letter to 

" King of," 45 ; early trade and 

customs, 179 




Chittagong (" Chatigan or porto 
Grande"), 115, 129 

Cochin, Fitch's visit and description, 

Coinage, restoration of English, 13 

Colonisation, Gilbert in Newfound- 
land, 27 ; Virginia, 233, 237 ; 
success of British, 258 

Commercial revival, 12 

Conformity, Bill of, 8 

Cosmin (Bassein, Burma), 154, 182 

DAMAN, 58 

Davis, John, navigator, 238, 243, 
248, 251, 253 

De Rea, Francis, 79 

Diu, 57 

Doughty, Thomas, executed, 33 

Drake, Sir Francis, 28 ; at San Juan 
de Ulloa, 29 ; Nombre de Dios, 
30 ; circumnavigation, 30, 33 ; 
knighted, 34 ; referred to by 
Newberie, 78 ; other exploits, 236 

Dutch in the East, 241 ; decay, 244, 

minutes, 228 ; Royal Charter, 
250; first voyage, 251; "joint- 
stock," 252 ; Company acquired 
by the Crown, 253 

East Indian enterprise, birth of, 37 

Eldred, John, letters from New- 
berie, 75, 217; interest in East 
India Company, 198, 199 ; bio- 
graphy, 217 ; monuments, 219 

Elizabeth, Queen, foreign policy, 4, 
13 ; plots against her, 9 ; indus- 
trial policy, 19 ; and adventurers, 
24, 28, 29, 34 ; remarkable letter, 
31 ; treaty with Murad III., 42 ; 
letters to Akbar, and " King of 
China," 44 

Elliot, Richard, Consul at Tripoli, 44 

Ellis, Edward, 42 

Excommunication, Bull of, 5 

FAKIRS, Indian, 102, no 
Fatehpur Sikri, 97 
Felton and the Papal Bull, 6 
Feluja (" Felugia "), 49 

Fitch, Ralph, 37, 46. Narrative : 
setting out, 47 ; arrest at Ormuz 
and sent to Goa, 56 ; escape, 62 ; 
letter to Leonard Poore, 64 ; 
journey in India, 92 ; travels 
alone, 99 ; in Burma, 153 ; trade 
of delta, 155, 164 ; describes 
Pegu city, Pagoda, and King's 
grandeur, 156-64 ; priesthood, 
1 68 ; at Malacca, trade in Far 
East, 177 ; goods described, 188 ; 
returns home via Ceylon, Goa, 
Ormuz, Asia Minor, 182-91 ; 
assists East India Company, 
198-9 ; his claim on posterity, 
257 (see Newberie's letters) 
Fitzwilliam, secret agent in Spain, 10 
Fonseca, Archbishop of Goa, 71, 

79, 215 

Frobisher, Sir Martin, 27, 28, 236 
Fytche, Lieut. -Gen. Albert, Chief 
Commissioner of British Burma, 
20 1 

Fytche, William, President of Fort 
William, 200 

GANGES, 102 ; religious rites, 103 
Garret, William, founder Levant 

Company, 42 

Gilbert, Sir Humphrey, 27 
Goa, Fitch's account, 61 ; general 

description, 81 ; return to, 187 ; 

archbishop (see Fonseca) 
Golconda, 93 
Gresham, Sir Thomas, 15 ; story 

of, 17 
Guilds of Merchants, 14 

HAKLUYT, RICHARD, letter from 

Newberie, 206; biography, 231 ; 

East India Company, 233 
Hanseatic League, 14 
Hareborne, William, 42 ; first 

ambassador to the Sultan, 43, 

211, 224 
Hawkins, Sir John, plotting in 

Spain, 9 ; as naval controller, 23 ; 

dispute with Philip II. and 

results, 29 
Hawkins, William, and Brazil 

trade, 28 



Historical summaries (1570-83) 
1-38; (1583-91), 235-45 

Hit ("Ait"), 52 

Hortop, Job, sailor, 37 

Houtman, Cornelius, navigator, 242 

Hugli (" Hugeli or Porto 
Piqueno"), 113 

INDUSTRY, growth of textile, 19 
Inquisition at Goa, 87 
Invincible Armada, 237 
Ivan the Terrible and first English 
voyagers, 25 

JAMBI ("lamba"), iSl 

Japan, 179 

Jehangir, 90 

Jenkinson, Anthony, first English 

Ambassador to the Tsar, 26 
Jesuits, scheme against the English 

travellers, 69 

John of Austria, Don, 31 
umna (" lemena"), 100 
unkseylon (" lunsalaon"), 178 

KUCH BEHAR("Couche"), in 

LABUAN ("Laban"), 181 

Lancaster, Sir James, navigator, 
242 ; first voyage to India, 245 ; 
biography, 248 ; first voyage for 
East India Company, 251 

Leeds, Duke of, first and present, 

Leedes, William, companion of 
Fitch, 48, 72, 79 ; remains in 
Akbar's service, 100 

Levant (or Turkey) Company, 41 ; 
charter, 42 ; history, 223 ; con- 
nection with East India Company, 

Linschoten, John Huyghen van, 66 ; 
story of Fitch party, 67 ; their 
escape, 72 ; mentioned by New- 
berie, 79 ; life at Goa, 82 ; bio- 
graphy, 213, 241 

Lock, Michael, consul at Aleppo, 

MACAO, 179, 240 

Magellan, exploring Spice Islands, 

Malacca, capture by Albuquerque, 
124 ; a trade centre, 126; relief 
of, 175 ; Fitch's visit, 179 
Mandogarh (" Mandoway"), 96 
Marke, or Marco, Padre, 65, 69, 

73> 79 

Mary of Scots, executed, 236 
Martaban, Sack of, 139; visited by 

Fitch, 178, 182 
Mascarenhas, Dom F. de, Viceroy, 

56, 62, 71, 73, 85 
Masulipatam, 94 
Meh-Kay ("Macao"), 156 
Mendes Pinto, Ferdinand, 140, 143 
Mercers, Company of, 16 
Merchant Adventurers, 15 
Merchant Staplers, 15 
Merdin (or Mardeen), 190 
Mogok, ruby mines of, 172 
Mosul, 190 

NAVY, renaissance of, 22 

Newberie, John, 37 ; receives royal 
letters, 44; former travels, 48, 
68 ; linguist, 73 ; letters to Eldred, 
and Shales, 75 ; last letter (to 
Poore), 76 ; begins journey home, 
99 ; biography, 202 ; how the 
expedition started, 208; appeal 
for help, 218 

NIZAM-AL-MULK (" Nizamaluco "), 


North-east passage, 25 
North-west passage, 27 

ORISSA ("Orixa"), 114 

Ormuz, 54, 188 

Osborne, Sir Edward, a founder of 
Levant Co., 42 ; patron of Fitch's 
voyage, 48 ; Biography : romantic 
rescue of Anne Hewet, 221 ; 
Knighted, Lord Mayor and 
M.P., 223; interest in Levant 
Co., 223 ; founder of distin- 
guished family, 225 

Oxenham the Rover, 30 

PATNA (" Patenaw "), 109 
Pegu, see Burma and Fitch 
Paul IV. and Queen Elizabeth's 
accession, 4 



Philip II. of Spain, implicated in 
Ridolfi plot, 9 ; subsidy to Haw- 
kins, 10 ; ruinous policy in 
Netherlands, 18 ; King of Por- 
tugal, 35 ; policy against Eng- 
land, 35 ; Indian policy, 86 

Philips, Miles, 36 

Pius V., personality of, 5 

Poore, Leonard, letters from Fitch, 
64 ; from Newberie, 76, 208 

Portuguese rule, 83 ; decay, 238, 257 

QUILON ("Coulam"), 185 

RALEIGH, Sir Walter, 27, 237 

Rangoon, 152 ; Shwe-Dagon Pa- 
goda, 167 ; city founded, 255 

Raymond, George, navigator, 245 

Religion under Elizabeth, II, 13 

Ridolfi Plot, 9, 29 

Roe, Sir Thomas, mission to India, 

Royal Exchange, opening of, 17 

Rupee, value of, 201 

Russia, first treaty with the English, 
25 ; first embassy to England, 26 

SAN JUAN DE ULLOA, treachery of, 

10, 29 

St. Francis Xavier, 87 
St. Thome, early Christians at, 86 
Satgaon ("Satagam"), 100 
Sebastian, King of Portugal, divides 

eastern possessions, 128 
Seixas, Paulo de, defends Martaban, 

Sequeira, Diogo L. de, first visit to 

Malacca, 124; viceroy, 130 
Serampur (" Serrepore "), 118, 191 
Shales, William, 75, 218 
Shipping, English, 16 
Sironji (" Serringe "), 97 
Smith, Sir Thomas, founder Levant 

and East India Companies, 42, 

Soabinya ("Chaubainhaa"), Peguan 

Viceroy at Martaban, 131 ; death, 


Sonargaon (" Sinnergan "), 119 
Spain and Low Countries, 5, 8 

Spain and Philippines, 240 

Spanish Fury at Antwerp, 8,31 

Staper, Richard, voyage to Con- 
stantinople, and founder of Levant 
Company, 42 ; patron of Fitch 
Expedition, 48 ; founder of East 
India Company, 198 ; account 
with Newberie, 209 ; Levant 
Company, 224 ; biography, 227 

Stevens, Rev. Thomas, 62, 65, 79 ; 
letter in Newberie's possession, 
207; biography, 21 1 

Steelyard in London, 15 

Story, Dr., capture and death, 10 

Story, or Storie, James, companion 
of Fitch, 48; remains at Goa, 65, 
70, 74, 79 

Stropene, Michael, 75, 77, 78, 81, 

Stukley, Sir Thomas, conspirator, 

Sukladuge (" Suckel Counse "), 
ruler of Kuch Behar, 112 

Syriam ("Cirion"), 155 

TABORER, Andreas, of Goa, 62, 71, 


Tanda, Bengal, no 
Tanna ("Tana"), Bengal, 59 
Tavoy ("Taui"), 178 
Tenasserim ("Tanaseri"), 178 
Tripoli, in Syria, 48, 191 
Tudor Government, 1 1 

UJJAIN ("Vgini"), 97 
Urfa ("Orfa"), 190 


WALSINGHAM, Sir F., 7 ; estimate 
of Catholic party, 1 1 ; Babington 
plot, 236 

"Water Beggars," 21 

Westmorland, Earl of, 8 

William the Silent, appeal to Eliza- 
beth, 9 ; Havre mission, 3 1 ; 
banned by Philip II., 35 ; as- 
sassinated, 235 

Willoughby, Sir Hugh, navigator, 25 

ZIMME ("lamahey") 146, 147, 170 



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